I’ve been remembering a lot of things today and in the days since the Queen’s passing, and today being the anniversary of 9/11, remembering that, too.
The British are very, very good at remembering things. We’re… not but there are some memorials that we do well. Pearl Harbor is one. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is another. Some of the 9/11 memorials are meaningful to me personally (as I’m in travel, today always brings back memories of the terrible days of silence in the skies above Chicagoland during the nationwide ground hold).
In November 2010, David and I took a trip to the UK. It wasn’t the best time of the year, but it was what I could get. We were staying near Buckingham Palace, so Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square were within walking distance.
There were poppies everywhere. So on a more recent vacation, I took this picture with my plain old iPhone. I stopped using my Canon about the time we were in England. These were growing on the edge of somebody’s family Chautauqua cottage, down hill from their property and likely volunteers from a very old planting, because I was hiking along a fire road below the houses.
During the November 2010 UK trip, we were in London during the Armistice Day observances. The crowds were immense, packed in 5 and 10 deep all along the streets along the route of the parade.. We picked a spot near where the royal cars went into the back of the government buildings closest to the Cenotaph where all the royals were to lay wreaths. We didn’t have a hope of making our way through the crowds to see that, so we stayed on the edge of Parliament Square, near some protesters, but we got lots of great views of some of the veterans marching in their uniforms as they swung around the corner toward the end of the route at the Abbey..
This group struck me – there were so many like this, in different uniforms, walking or rolling along in motorized carts, solemn and proud. I loved them in their kilts and tartan trousers and wondered how many they had lost in their group over the years.
Some of them may still be with us, and if they are able, they will be there somewhere in the crowds during the Queen’s long progress toward her resting place in the Abbey. Some may stand near the roadside in Scotland, if they could get there, or pay their respects at Holyrood, where she will lie in repose until Tuesday.
When the observances get to London, I expect the streets will be completely full of people, the Tube will be jammed, and it will be much like the Armistice crowds from our visit – quiet, sad, respectful.
Naturally, it’s a logistical and security nightmare, and I’ll heave a huge sigh of relief when it’s decently done and everyone of the heads of state are safely home.
I took a lot of fairly good photos with that Canon 30D but lost interest in lugging it around when I realized it was hard to get really sharp focus while wearing glasses. The photos were all filed using an old Google app called PIcasa, but they’re still up on a web archive. Some of them ended up as banners on the blog.
There are lots of kinds of remembrance today, here in the US and over there in the UK. It’s a sad, dark, murky day here and the light makes everything outside look like it’s underwater. It’s not like the incredibly bright, sunny day 21 years ago at all. The murk suits the mood.