November 13, 2014


What a poignant week to be in England. There was Remembrance Day, quickly followed by Armistice Day, on the same day as our Veterans Day. Ashamedly, back home Veterans Day is not given enough thought, speaking for myself. Having never been here  this week, has been profound and quite though provoking. Witnessing the British pomp and circumstance with seemingly the entire nation in a collective remembrance that touched most families.
This year in particular is the centennial of the start of World War I
Nearly every village, town and city has their War Memorial listing the village boys, lost to war.  WWI was a  brutal war that "lost a generation of the best and brightest."
The Tower of London enveloped in an exhibit called Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red by British artist Paul Cummins

The long ago moat was filled with hand made ceramic poppies, 888, 246, one for each soldier lost
We went to London to see this first hand, along with an estimated 5 million others. The crowds were massive, polite and completely silent
On Armistice Day,  a tradition from 1918, is the laying of the poppy wreaths at the Cenotaph, London's War Memorial
The first wreath is always laid by the Monarch, followed by members of the Royal family, politicians, service and regiment leaders, followed by the leaders of their commonwealths. Here is King George in 1918, Queen Elizabeth's grandfather
The country stopped for 2 minutes of silence. 
The 88 year old Queen and her 93 year old husband, stood firmly in place while all the wreaths were laid.
This year, hailed many terrorist threats and it was suggested the Royal family not participate, the Queen would have none of that
Back in Sherborne I walked to it's memorial in front of the ancient Abbey
I have to say what has moved me is listening to stories of the veterans, people who were children in London emerging from shelters to find everything they knew bombed away, the sights, the sounds and the smells. 
Crosses for each man of Sherborne lost in war



  1. I never understood how Armistice Day, a day to honor veterans but also to cherish peace, became solely a way to honor veterans in the US.
    Don't get me wrong, I do honor and cherish each veteran who has given more than I will ever even realize.
    In 1918, on the 11th Day, in the 11th hour,, in the 11th minute, all manner of violence upon our fellow man stopped for a full minute. Imagine. Peace. True peace. Even for a minute's time, it is an example to strive for...and it looks like we have forgotten.
    Thank you for these poignant images, reminders to always strive for peace and to resort to war only under the most dire of circumstances, lest we fill our world with even more men and women who have seen unholy images and experienced loss and grief beyond measure.



  2. A beautiful tribute to a solemn that last quote, so well said. Thank you Debra.

  3. Small villages across England have always amazed me, for decades. Their losses, and honoring, of WWI are still palpable.

    XO T

  4. beautiful andy, actually wish i had those words within me.

  5. The memorial poppies in London have been felt around the world. It's more than the installation of the poppies being beautiful. Standing there surrounded by the massive amount of poppies digs at people - you couldn't help but think that because of these soldiers you are able to stand there. Freedom.
    I think this year - Armistice Day, Veteran's Day, Remembrance Day {at home here in Canada}, has brought an added level of thankfulness for peace. I've never felt more patriotic in my life than I have this past year.

  6. Debra,
    This post brought tears to my eyes. You are right, I do wish our country held some of these "holidays" dearer and less about a day off from work. The exhibit at the Tower has been overwhelmingly poignant. The aerial shot you provided made the scope and number of people lost staggering to imagine.
    What a memorable week in England for you. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  7. Debra, such a lovely post and such a loving effort in it. Thank you. I tweeted it - @FrancesMSchultz - and hope it goes big.

  8. Debra, I heard about this ceramic poppy display about a month ago on NPR and wished that I could have seen it in person. It looks and sounds so moving!

    I hope that you are enjoying your trip and am looking forward to hearing more about it!

    Be safe and enjoy, Elizabeth

  9. Those red poppies make a dramatic statement. Such a beautiful and poignant tribute. Grateful for our freedom thanks to those that serve and those that have done so. Have a wonderful weekend.

  10. What a beautiful post, Debra...thank you for sharing it with us. Have a lovely weekend!

  11. Such a moving post, Deborah. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. The installation with the ceramic poppies is incredible and a fitting tribute to those who were killed in the war.


  12. Oh my, how envious I am that you saw the beautiful poppies firsthand.
    I once wrote about a time when my husband and I were stationed in Germany and we went to the American cemetery in St. Avold, France on Veteran's Day. My husband, in uniform, could barely keep it together when he saw a group of elderly French gentlemen, some with walkers and wheelchairs, rise and salute him as we walked passed. I however was a soppy bucket of tears.
    Beautiful post Debra!

  13. These are such powerful images Debra I can only imagine how moving it is to be in England during this time. I feel rather speechless when I think about all those gallant men who gave their lives for our security and all those brave men and women who endured such terrible times. Thank you for sharing this. It reminds me of the close alliance that England and United States have always had in times of need.

  14. This was a beautiful post! Happy Thanksgiving.


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