Letter: A tribute to Remembrance Day
Some years ago my wife and I flew in to Newcastle Airport in the northeast of England to reunite with family. As we all walked through the airport concourse a very strange thing happened. Everyone came to a complete stop and just stood there like statues. It was so surreal until my wife reminded me that it was Remembrance Day, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—Armistice Day. The concourse came to a complete standstill for almost two minutes, truly an experience that will never be forgotten.
Fast forward to the present day and last Thursday, Remembrance Day 2010. I happened to pull into a parking lot while listening to music by Respighi on the car radio. At the conclusion it was followed immediately by the clarion call of a solo trumpet playing "Reveille" after which a choir sang J.B. Dykes’ lovely hymn, "Eternal Father, strong to save"; to paraphrase, "For those in peril on land air and sea." Then the wonderful strains of Nimrod from Elgar’s "Enigma Variations" graced my hearing, finally a solo trumpet again this time playing the "Last Post."
I was listening to WHRO 90.3 FM’s remembrance tribute, not only to those who served in WWI but wars since then. Out of all those millions who served in the Great War, only three survivors are still living. From the U.K. Claude Choules Stanley, last seaman, also from the U.K., Florence Beatrice Green, last female veteran and from the U.S.A., Frank Woodruff Buckles, last U.S. veteran, living in West Virginia. All were born in 1901 and are now 109 years of age. As I listened to the marvelous musical montage, I was very much moved and even though outwardly I was sitting in my car; nevertheless, inwardly I was standing to attention. I salute our service men and women everywhere and would express a very grateful thank you to WHRO 90.3 FM for calling their listeners to remember—lest we forget.