From the Falkirk Herald 27 October 2005


Freedom honour for wartime veterans

Special ceremony to mark valiant efforts

VETERANS of the Second World War will receive a special thank you at a unique ceremony.
Falkirk Council will become the first local authority in the country to award the Freedom of the Town to its citizens who served in the armed services and Merchant Navy during the 1939-45 conflict.
Today (Thursday), over 360 veterans and their guests will attend a presentation in the indoor athletics arena at Grangemouth Stadium.
Following a parade of over 200 former servicemen and women, Provost Jim Johnston will present the first Freedom scroll before councillors and school pupils hand over scrolls and commemorative medals to the other 365 veterans present. Those unable to attend will have their memorabilia forwarded to them.
During the afternoon, music will be provided by the Army Lowland Band, Falkirk Festival Choir, Grangemouth High School pupils and local pipers, while master of ceremonies is Alistair Hutton, who was the "voice" of the Edinburgh Tattoo for many years.
Before the ceremony, Provost Johnston said: "The men and women we will honour left behind their homes, their families and everything they knew to serve their country."
The provost said it would be a privilege to confer the honour on the veterans and called on the entire community to "salute their valour which ensured their children and grandchildren could grow up in a free, democratic country".
Falkirk Council has never bestowed the honour since it formed in 1996 and only twice in recent memory has the freedom of the town been awarded by Falkirk District Council to The Princess Royal in 1990 and by the former Town Council to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in 1974.
Philanthropist Robert Dollar, who was born in Falkirk then emigrated to Canada to make his fortune, was also granted the freedom of his home town in the 1920s.
The Freedom of Falkirk is mainly a symbolic gesture, although, in the past, recipients have been allowed to keep their bayonets fixed to weapons while marching through the town, as well as bringing their livestock into the town centre.

For full coverage of the special event, see next week's Falkirk Herald.  (this link will probably expire quite quickly)

27 October 2005

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