On the 11th hour of the 11th day of November 2018 people across Europe, America and beyond stood in silence together. They took this time to to reflect and remember those who gave their lives in sacrifice during the First World War and in other wars that have been fought since.
This year was particularly special as it marks 100 years since peace was declared. A televised festival at the Royal Albert Hall included music and performances by Sir Tom Jones, Sir Bryn Terfel and The Kingdom Choir and other well known musicians was particularly moving and attended by the royal family.
This Sunday in every village and community throughout the British Isles and across the continent citizens came together to hold services, lay wreathes and pay their respects at war memorials throughout the land.
Many town centres have been decorated with handmade poppies and volunteers have banded together to create amazing displays to highlight this special day. In Chichester Alex at Closs & Hamblin fabrics said “we were totally amazed to find that our customers and friends had made 4400 crochet poppies in response to our ‘Big Poppy 2018’ call for crafting so we could assemble our special Remembrance Day themed window display.”
In Lee-on-the-Solent the florists shop presented an elaborate vintage frontage with flowers, soldiers silhouettes and flags. In other parishes like Bosham in West Sussex a simple row of crosses and red wreaths demonstrated the formal respects that were paid by the parishioners at their war local memorial, as part of a dedicated Sunday service.
There were official events in all of the major cities including London where the Prime Minister Theresa May and Prince Charles laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, closely watched by the Queen. Shortly afterwards 10000 citizens from all walks of life took part in the People’s Procession which paraded through the historic city streets. Hundreds amongst them were ceremoniously representing family members from previous generations that had fought in the two world wars.
The BBC said of the People’s Parade that “Today, the mood of jubilation has been replaced with a quiet pride and an awe at what our ancestors sacrificed for our freedom.”
Along the length of the south coast Royal Navy, Marines, Army and Air Force members wore their uniforms and handed out poppies whilst softly playing appropriate military anthems and songs that celebrate peacetime.
At a time of political division within the UK and also in the United States, a moment to reflect on ones history and values was an important and timely one for many taking part. The First World War has been on the curriculum for thousands of schools nationwide this year. This educational knowledge has generated an interest and awareness of preventing war and aspiring to maintain peace that will hopefully stay with the next generation as they mature. This will also ensure that Armistice Day and all those who made sacrifices to ensure a lasting peace are remembered, over the next hundred year to come.
‘Remembrance Day: Pride and awe at the People’s Procession’ Marie Jackson, BBC News, 11 Nov 2018
Closs & Hamblin Fabrics & Haberdashery shop Chichester, West Sussex