Service for the Fallen
The Rugbytown 7s tournament is an annual event held at Glendale's Infinity Park, Colorado. It is two events in one. The open competition comprises of fifteen teams from across the United States, Carribean and United Kingdom. They are joined by the representative teams of the five Service arms of the United States; US Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Air Force and US Coast Guard.
In 2018 there were three British teams taking part; Ramblin Jesters and two from the Army, the Royal Armoured Corps and the British Army's representative seven's team.
In a change from previous years the British Army were invited to stand alongside their US military colleagues and be represented at the Service for the Fallen. Sgt Ben Fulton 1RHA [currently serving with 14 Regt RA] represented the British Army, Army Rugby Union and Army Sevens at this unique occasion in Service sport.
Service for the Fallen cont.
The format of the Service is simple but effective. At the start of the Service each of the representatives from the six teams walk out with a rugby ball and stand facing a wreath. Five of the balls were in the colours of the Stars and Stripes and sixth emblazoned with the Army Rugby Union emblem. One at a time the ball is then carried from the 5m line in field to be placed under the wreath. As this is being done a list of names of those Service rugby players who have fallen on active duty are read out. The US Army were first, followed in turn by the other four US MIlitary arms.
With such a long history of rugby in the British Army, encompassing two World Wars, a full list would have taken too long. Instead the current British Army Sevens squad provided a meaningful and personal list of rugby players from British military rugby to be read out. Most of the names belonging to Service colleagues lost in the more recent conflicts in Afganistan and Iraq.
When all six balls had been placed beneath each wreath the two National Amthems were played before the ceremony was drawn to a close with the players leaving the field of play and Mike Highlander's Band changing the mood with their unique brand of up tempo pipe and drums music.