Supported by a crowd of thousands along Whitehall, war veterans from the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women and family members took part in Ajex’s annual remembrance ceremony and parade on Sunday.
Among the marchers was RAF veteran David Sherman, who said: “We’re very fortunate that they close a main street — Whitehall — specifically for a Jewish parade. And we will try to keep it going as long as we can. We’re now mainly relatives of deceased fighting servicemen and women who are now in their 90s.”
Echoing his sentiments, Jeffrey Fox, past national chairman and vice-president of Ajex, pointed out: “We’re the only ethnic minority allowed to hold a religious ceremony at the Cenotaph with all the roads closed. That’s something we treasure immensely.
“The most emotional bit is to hear Adon Olam sung with a military band.”
Army veteran Clive Boxer said the parade was about “people like us recognising that many of our compatriots were killed. We’re trying to remember what sacrifices they made.”
It was important to keep the parade going — “If you look around, you’ll see the age profile is not healthy. But our children are here, my sons-in-law are here, and they’re representing their parents, wearing their medals. So we’re passing it on.”
Those laying wreaths at the Cenotaph included General Sir Peter Wall, the parade’s reviewing officer. There was a prayer for the welfare of the British Armed Forces and a memorial prayer “to all who have bravely laid down their lives in the service of the Crown and to the six million victims of the Holocaust”.