“At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month silence fell across the battlefields of Europe.”
On Remembrance Sunday, silence fell across London in respect for the men and women who suffered and died in the service of their country.
We had visitors in town the day before and walked through the gardens surrounding Westminster Abbey. Lining the paths were thousands of wooden crosses, some with names, some with pictures, all hand-written and carefully placed according to the service members unit and where they served. The endless row upon endless row of these little wooden crosses was a stunning reminder of the heavy price Britain paid in war. Watching elderly men and women on their hands and knees searching the crosses for the name of a friend or family member was just heartbreaking.
The Queen, members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister, members of Parliament and representatives from the Commonwealth placed wreaths at the Cenotaph before thousands of veterans and their families marched past to pay their respects. Everyone wore a red poppy (The Queen wore 5?), a symbol of Remembrance. The celebrations did not end with the ceremony at the Cenotaph. We saw bands, regiments, clusters of soldiers and sailors paying respects at different memorials throughout the city.
The Cenotaph, post ceremony, filled with red poppy wreaths.
We happened upon this ceremony at the Guards Memorial in St. James’s Park. The memorial features 5 bronze figures representing the Foot Guard Regiments (Grenadiers, Coldstream, Scots, Welsh and Irish) and sits across from Horse Guards parade grounds. I’m not sure of the significance of the bowler hats and umbrellas…if anyone knows, please leave a comment or send an email!
It was only fitting that we join one of the many Remembrance Day celebrations in the pub, surrounded by Her Majesty’s Forces, raising a glass to those who served and those they left behind.
Interesting Facts/Things to know:
Remembrance Sunday Services will take place on 10 November 2013. For more information check here.
Women who lost their service-member husbands or family members are allowed to wear their medals on ceremonial occasions.
worn by ex-servicemen on special military occasions often delineate their branch of service and speciality (Thank your for the special lesson, members of the military engineer corp at the Ship and Shovell pub!)
Moina Bell Michael, an American schoolteacher, started the tradition of wearing a red poppy. She sold red, silk poppies to raise money for ex-servicemen.
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