THEY came in their thousands - military and civilian, young and old, babes in arms, toddlers raised high on the shoulders of their fathers.
And under slate grey skies, on a dark, dank day, they stood together to remember and to honour those who had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
By 10.35am yesterday Sheffield’s Remembrance Sunday parade - led by two police officers on horseback - was making its way along Division Street to the war memorial in Barker’s Pool.
The Sheffield Citadel Salvation Army Band played as cadets representing each of the forces marched with military precision.
Then came the standard bearers, followed by the veterans. Those still able marched proudly while those in wheelchairs, too old or infirm to walk, showed equal pride.
Applause rippled from the packed crowd.
The Lord Mayor Coun Sylvia Dunkley, the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire David Moody, the Master Cutler Pam Liversidge and other dignitaries including David Blunkett MP observed from steps of Sheffield City Hall as the gathering fell silent and a maroon was fired to mark the eleventh hour.
The union flag, hanging limp in the mist, was lowered to half mast.
After two minutes an impeccably observed silence was shattered by the firing of a further maroon.
Wreaths were laid as the reveille sounded and tears flowed freely as the Kohima Epitaph was read: “When you go home, tell them of us and say, for their tomorrow we gave our today.”
Norman Kean, aged 61, a heating and ventilation engineer from Occupation Lane in Hackenthorpe dabbed his cheek with a tissue.
The former member of the Royal Navy from 1966 to 1974 said: “I came to remember all the lads and lasses who have given their lives for our freedom.
“When I was a member of the crew of HMS Llandaff, four mates of mine were killed in a road accident in Holland.
“I came to remember them, too.”
By 11.30 the ceremony was complete and the parade made its way down Leopold Street to thunderous applause.
A mile away in Weston Park former members of the York and Lancaster Regiment had gathered to pay their respects to the fallen, and in Rotherham the South Yorkshire Police Band led a parade from Effingham Square to the Minster for a church service.
The parade, including Rotherham Sea Cadets, the Rotherham RAF Association, scouts, and St John Ambulance members then made its way to observe a two minute silence at the memorial in Clifton Park.