“The Glorious Dead.” A phrase which echoes across the generations as a symbol of duty, honour and most of all, self- sacrifice. During Remembrance Sunday, a large number Southport Freemasons were once again proud to join the Major, members of His Majesty’s Services, esteemed ex-servicemen, cadets and many of the people of the town in paying their respects.
It is a longstanding tradition for Southport Freemasons and other respected members of the town to not just attend the event but also take part in the parade. Despite the somewhat inclement weather, attendance was again exceptional, with the Freemasons of the town forming a strong column behind the military, cadets and veterans.
Led by the group officers, they met first at The Masonic Hall before proceeding to Wesley Street where the parade was being assembled. They were there marshalled by Ian Brown who ensured that even if discipline would never reach the standard of that seen in the forces, it was as high as mere civilians could achieve.
Southport is blessed by the size and scale of their war monuments. Dominating London Square and the surrounding 4 story high buildings is the monument, an obelisk honouring those who gave their lives for their country. It is flanked by two gardens, each of which contains a large colonnade in the Greek style which in turn house various cenotaphs and tributes.
It was however around the obelisk that the parade gathered and a busy place the square was indeed! The Masonic contingent was extremely proud to be given the privilege of flanking the veterans, who were naturally given the place of honour opposite the front of the monument with its inscription ‘LOOK UPWARDS, STANDING MUTE. SALUTE’.
The service proceeded with all humility and respect and was extremely moving. The Last Post was heard, silence was observed and songs were sung. Phil Stock, Chairman of the Southport Group, laid the wreath on behalf of the Masonic contingent with great solemnity, allowing the brethren present to quietly remember their own loved ones or pay tribute in their own way.
Following the service, the parade proceeded to the town hall to pass by and salute the principal guests. The Masonic contingent proceeded in good order before dispersing on their own business and to see their families. Everyone was left in no doubt that thoughts remained for some time regarding those who made such a difference but sacrificed so much.