"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Sunday Stroll: Remembrance Sunday

Remembrance Sunday honours the fallen in the wars of the 20th and 21st centuries. It's also an occasion to thank surviving veterans for their selfles and heroic service.

In the morning the Service of Remembrance took place at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, where the Queen laid a wreath.

Other members of the royal family laid wreaths--Prince Philip, Princes William and Harry, both in uniform of their respective regiments. Then representatives of all the Commonwealth nations and all brances of the service placed their wreaths.

When that was done, there were prayers and hymns, closing with God Save the Queen. Then there was a veterans parade, and very impressive it is. I watched a portion of it before leaving the hotel.

My plan for the day happened to take me to the heart of the action. Navigating London was a bit of a challenge, the Victoria Underground Line was closed, and services were unavailable on other lines. But I got myself where I needed to go, and arrived at Westminster Abbey. The bells were pealing.

The tolling continued for hours, and mingled with the organ inside the abbey, where a worship service was taking place. I couldn't visit the graves of my characters but I did have a nice wander through the cloisters.

Poppy wreaths laid at a military memeorial.

Personal messages of remembrance.

Oh, look, it's actress Anne Bracegirdle's gravestone. She appears in my novel, very briefly.

The lead pair in the boys' choir procession. They participated in the Cenotaph service.

This military gentleman was striding towards the same place I was.

The Field of Remembrance on the Abbey grounds, sponsored by the Royal British Legion.

The Poppy Appeal for this year is the most successful ever. I did my part.

Looking down the line at the memorial crosses. Each one represents an individual.

Part of the Army section.


Section for the U.S. fallen.

Many faiths are acknowledged. In this group are the Star of David and the Crescent as well as the Cross.

All generations were united in remembrance.

A hero in Parliament Square.

Winston Churchill overlooking Westminster Hall.

By the time I arrived at the Cenotaph, the final ceremony was in progress. A Salvation Army chaplain was making remarks and leading prayers. The band played hymns. In this video you'll hear the very last bars of God Save the Queen.

I continued along Whitehall to the Banqueting House, a setting for a few scenes in the book.

I can never resist photographing Horse Guards.

I crossed over to St. James's Park. The purple berry bush next to the bridge is doing its thing, right on schedule.

Buckingham Palace from the bridge.

I walked through Green Park to the Tube Station and got off in Oxford Street. The trains were jammed in late afternoon...I bought three skirts in a favourite store, then returned to the hotel.

This was a moving and emotional day, one I'll always remember. I've never made the effort to participate in Remembrance Sunday and I'm so thankful I did.

To continue strolling, please head over to Aisling's blog. And thanks for visiting mine.

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