Today I got to witness a sombre, pride inducing moment first hand, the Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph. I got to go to the infamous event and experience the atmosphere as we remembered the soldiers that have fallen and support those currently fighting and those that have fought.
All around me stood shiny medals blazoned upon chests and poppies poking out of coats. I was stood amongst people who had been affected by war and I got to hear their tales of bravery. The families talking of the people they had lost, the soldiers remembering the scariest, happiest and loneliest moments of war and the children asking many questions. It was a strange emotion as it was sad but also so very inspiring and filled me with a sense of patriotism that I have not been able to shake off since this morning.
Once the service had begun and the band had started playing, the crowds fell quiet and stood in awe. We watched the guardsmen pass us, the Navy soldiers pass us and the Queen’s Foot Guard’s pass us. Each of them had their own experience, their own tale to tell and that was why we were there to see a small insight and support them as they stood for our country. Big Ben then struck for this special service and the whole of London fell silent. Not a single sound could be heard just as it was likely to be all around the country. This is one of the beauties of Britain, we have a certain ability to all come together and stand together on special occasions, services and in times of need that I don’t think you could find anywhere else. The whole country unites and stands silent in memory of those we have lost, those who have died so we can live and those who are still fighting to protect us. Everybody respects this and everybody puts their differences aside to stand in unison as a country.
The prayers and hymns came soon after once the wreaths had been laid by the Prince of Wales, Theresa May and other important figures of the country. The service itself was not long and the loveliest moment was hearing the crowds speak in unison The Lords Prayer. Everybody once again came together to pray and hope for soldiers and this act of love and respect is not something we see so often in my generation so it was eye opening for me. The crowds also all joined in for The National Anthem which also made me feel extremely patriotic as the people bellowed around me and The Queen sat in the balcony opposite hearing the words we were saying. Kate Middleton was singing as was Prince Philip and it not only united the crowds stood in Whitehall but the country as I imagine everyone joined in who were watching at home.
Soon after this the service ended with the veterans marching and we all applauded and cheered with pride for them. We may have been freezing but what was happening around me soon warmed me up as I watched the incredible acts of compassion. The event inspired me so much that I found myself on the way back smiling at all the passersby as I cherished the fact a small moment of compassion such as cheering on a veteran or praying for a soldier could make all the difference to somebody’s day. So I smiled, if I can brighten someones day then I should as I am not facing the horrific conditions thats soldiers do and they fight for us to live happily. That was one of the key lessons I learnt today and I hope you all take it away too. People are fighting and have fought for us to smile and we must honour that by helping them make the world a happier and less scary place.
Today was eye opening and was one of those days that truly makes me proud to be British.
We will remember them.
Hannah Jayne Artis ❤