Standard Bearers to the fore holding colours of blue and gold,

Representing a family of nations and their warriors bold.

The seventy-fifth year of the Legion in the Royal Albert Hall;

Colonnaded balconies of people reflecting the epic call.

Defend against an aggressor and champion those oppressed;

Prompted by this calling, with zeal they were possessed.

Some now in the autumn of life, tired but ever so proud;

As the Sovereign takes her place, o’er this glorious crowd.

Medals sparkle, glint and glisten on those with snowy hair;

Fanfares sound in clarion call, mustering the chosen there.

First the intrepid Mariners, in navy and hats of white;

Then pith helmeted Royal Marines, precise and disciplined sight.

Marching men in tunics of scarlet with bearskins on the head;

Successors of others before them, the wounded and the dead.

Closely followed by hackles of green, the Irish are on parade;

Loyal soldiers of the Crown, their fame does not fade.

Those of every Service go to their appointed place;

Also, The Chelsea Pensioners at a slow and dignified pace.

Wearing the three-cornered hat, in uniform coats of red;

Honours on every breast, none braver it could be said.

Berobed and mitred clergy, to bestow blessing and give thanks;

On the lowered Standards and all the gathered ranks.

The skirl of Highland Pipers as colleagues dance the sword;

Sound heard by enemies past as many a cannon roared.

Welshmen in choral harmony in voices high and low;

Pursuing their great tradition as sweet melodies flow.

Continuity silent marching, that others could not match;

By those wearing Airforce blue, exact as any watch.

Tempo set by music, of trumpet, piccolo and drum beat;

Enthralling all those present, such performers at their feet.

Hymns are sung, an address is said, the ‘Last Post’ it is played;

Poppies cascading on the young, symbols of the valiant dead.

Then the peal of a kettle drum, heralds ‘God Save The Queen’;

Ending all the homage, remembered by those who have been.

Poppies lie in abundance having fallen down like the rain;

Reminder to the living; of the blood spilt on the plain.


Monty Alexander 12.11.96

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