Thursday, 11 November 2010


11 o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

I was at home on Pippin as the tolling of Big Ben heard over the wireless marked the beginning of the two minutes silence.

I am not a Warrior, nor am I warlike. I have never worn uniform or served my country.

But every November 11th, I try to stop, and think of those that did and those that do.

The brave, the fallen, those with no known grave......

And those who I know I would have been like: those that died afraid, and wanting their Mum.

I try to stop at The Silence, just to give them my thoughts for a little space: my gratitude, my thanks.

It didn't happen today, though.

Just as Big Ben was chiming the last few tolls of eleven, a neighbour knocked on the boat with some small matters of business that I could help with. Our conversation lasted almost exactly the duration of the silence, and then he was gone.

I suppose I could have told him to shush.

Should have done, perhaps.

But I didn't.

I felt it would have been rude. A bit like banging on about one's own version of faith to someone who holds very different opinions and values..

Perhaps I was wrong, but maybe choosing not to honour the sacrifice made by the dead of our land in the defence of our freedom is, in some way, part of the freedom for which they died.

So long as it is not, simply, 'forgetting'.

That will never do.

They shall not grow old.

I shall not forget.

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