A parish council in the UK has been forced into a humiliating u-turn after they originally blocked plans for a World War One memorial – because the soldiers were carrying guns.
The UK is planning to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War by honoring soldiers killed in the conflict. Doing their part, the Royal British Legion campaign will be unveiling life-sized silhouettes of British Tommys to show their respects for the heroes.
But there were some people who were not so thrilled about one aspect of the display. The Brockenhurst Parish Council’s Amenities and Infrastructure Committee rejected the commemorative display because the Tommys were carrying guns. According to them, this detail could cause offence to the residents.
They decided a more appropriate, less violent way to commemorate the event was to place poppies on lamp posts.
This did not go over well with the locals. They started an online petition “Allow the Silent Soldiers to be heard in Brockenhurst” and guess what; over 1,000 people have signed it!
That was enough for the Council to make an embarrassing u-turn and they have now ordered one soldier to be displayed in town.
One council member, Maureen Holding, claimed that the full council never had the opportunity to vote on the issue and it was kept under wraps at the meetings:
“The Amenities and Infrastructure Committee voted on the soldiers way back in June, and it was swept over in our recent meeting.
“The decision had already been made despite some of us saying we believe it is important – they mentioned the decision without giving us a full explanation as to why we can’t have any.
“When I drive through other local villages I see silent soldiers put up by the Royal British Legion and I see how much of an impact they are having – Brockenhurst needs that too.
“Soldiers contributed the most to the war – the nurses and airmen all did a fantastic job, but we wouldn’t even be here without the Tommys with the rifles.
“The council have agreed to have one silent soldier which will be put up somewhere in the village – but that is the only one we are going to have for the moment.
“The committee made the choice to have poppies on lamp posts and didn’t realize how important it was to people to have the soldiers – I think they misjudged it.”
And she isn’t the only one who was fed up with the Council’s decision. Many took to social media to express their grievances. Nicola Davidson, the woman behind the petition that lead to the one soldier display, said that her village had been “denied the honor of having the soldiers” and pleaded others to join her in “bringing the soldiers back”.
Another user commented that “Councilors should be ashamed of themselves. These men gave everything – the very least we can do is remember them.”
You can check out the petition here. The comments truly speak for themselves.