Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The last of the many.

It is the spontaneous gestures that tell the story behind the ceremony, the moments of real emotion that cut through it all to lay bare the thoughts on people’s minds.

Today, as Henry Allingham struggled in vain against the infirmities of old age as he attempted to rise to his feet, it told a powerful story of remembrance and loss.

Almost everyone knows the name of Henry Allingham now - and Harry Patch and Bill Stone, Britain’s surviving veterans from the First World War. The last living reminders of a generation that sustained such terrible losses, they are the symbols of a suffering that modern generations find hard to understand.

But for Mr Allingham and his comrades, the memories of what happened are real, and personal, and theirs; and when, just before 11am today, and 90 years to the minute after the signing of the Armistice, he attempted to stand up in front of a crowd of thousands and lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, his gesture said more about war and grief than any prayer or salute.
The Telegraph has another story on the event, including video of Mr. Allingham's reflections. The Guardian has some more, as well as commentary on what the Great War may mean for us in the future as living memory of the period recedes into history. Had I more time I would compile a bit more of a collection of news stories on today's anniversary, but I hope this small sample conveys something of the spirit of the event we commemorate today. AMDG.


Post a Comment

<< Home