Did you know that 10 years ago the first pillar was unveiled at the area now known as Milton Keynes Rose?
On 11 November 2011 the then Mayor of Milton Keynes Alan Richards unveiled the very first pillar at the first Armistice Service to be held in Campbell Park. The Armistice Day pillar commemorates the end of the First World War and the Milton Keynes Rose has hosted the service annually on this date since it’s completion in 2013.
We are pleased to share the poem written and performed at today’s service by MK Poet laureate Mark Niel.
Some old soldiers still haven’t talked about it.
Kept tongues in check,
Cards close to their chest.
Held silence to their hearts
With the grip of a circus strongman.
Their reasons are legion:
Some claim evaporating memories,
Others cite the Official Secrets Act.
Yet for most it is simply,
The absence of words.
Images haunt them in spite of the years
Still pinpoint sharp but attempting
A description paralyses the throat,
Language betrays them,
Dies on the tongue.
They witnessed but never learned
How to articulate the horrors and loss.
No man should. We are justifiably
Wary of those comfortable with
The vocabulary of violence.
Once a year they make their statement,
Seen but not heard, in regimental colours,
Medals and shoes shined to parade ground gloss,
Mourning their fallen Brothers
As leaves and heads fall in reverence.
We share their burden if not their experience.
Remember sacrifice and duty
Are so much more than mere words.
There is no better way to honour them
Than with silence.