Normal practice for me over the last few years on Remembrance Sunday has been to march with the parade from Welshpool Town Hall to St Mary's Church. I've always tended to tag along near the back. This year, I decided that it was right to join the parade and service at a different Montgomeryshire town and accepted an invitation from the Royal British Legion at Newtown. Not sure where I'll go next year. The difference was that as Montgomeryshire's MP, I was expected to take a more prominent role - and hadn't briefed myself on the proper protocol. I did know that it was unacceptable to be chatting as marching, learning from the experiences of my predeccessor last year. Anyway I thought that there would be no problem. All I'd need to do was copy the Mayor, who was something of an 'old hand'. Worked well until we reached the Cenotaph, where she and I were directed to lay the first wreaths together. Problem was that we were one each side of the monument, and I couldn't see her. Decided to show respect as we do in the chamber of the House of Commons, and I'm told that I got it about right. Laying a wreath before so many people who have lost friends and family, or who have been at the front line is an emotion-charged action to carry out. You really want to do it right.
Also unexpected was an invitation to speak to the crowd outside the Monty Club when the return parade was over. But that was easy. Each Wed., at noon, I hear the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition pay tribute to the young men and women who have died in service to our country since the previous Wed. And words of appreciation to the asembled crowd in the Welsh Language were also appropriate. At Newtown today, the entire ceremony was bilingual, whcih made it all the more special for me.