For ‘the few’ a few words #remembrance #poppy #silence #war #WWI #November #Armistice

The 11th November is Armistice Day, pausing for a two minutes silence at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month. 
12-13th of November is Remembrance Weekend with special attention on the Sunday for full commemorative services across the country and across the world whether they take place in church, mosque, temple, abbey, at a memorial or at home.  

The Poppy is the symbol of a lost life at war.

Everyone has love, loved; loss, lost. Reflection and memories require time and attention and Emotion can sometimes be indefinable (poetry can help express what we struggle to find in simple words).

Whatever the conflict, feelings are universal.

Emotion has no boundary or divide; it instinctively unite us, wherever in the world you stand.

http://www.katebarnwell.com 

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A Somme-ber Silence #TheSomme #WorldWarOne #anniversary #remembrance #EUreferendum #France #GreatBritain #democracy #decisions #bravery #Europe #poppies

The 1st July 1916 on The Battlefield of Northern France: The Somme; 20,000 young allied men lie dead, 40,000 wounded; the worst single day in British military history.

A sad, brutal symbol of modern machine warfare and of futility – the German machine gun was known as the Devil’s paint brush; a desperate loss of innocence for many generations and the devastating repercussions of what ‘Europe is capable of doing to itself.’

The battle raged for 5 months, by 18th November 1916 One million were dead or wounded on both sides; their bodies rest on muddy foreign soil, a white headstone remembers their fall, their sacrifice and their significant memory.

The 1st July 1916 is also deemed to be a mid-way point between the start and the end of World War I. 

30 years later a Second World War would just be ending.

A further 70 years later The Democracy of The United Kingdom would make a tight decision to split from the EU, European Union, and face the wrath of the World.

‘This precious stone set in the silver sea’ may now face a storm and have to sail a rough course, before, once again, ruling the waves and being the great, Great Britain it is. 

We all make the country what it is, so end the moans and groans and clouds of despair.

Don’t be SOMBRE, be responsible for making it even better and even stronger.

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Bear With Us #Paddington #bear #story #London #trains #statue

Paddington station in West London is currently and has been for years, under a considerable amount of construction and re-generation. Yet it is not, and never shall be, without its beloved statue of a bronze bear; a statue no other station can boast of, Paddington Bear.  
A lonely singled-out bear in a Christmas shop window of 1956 was bought by Michael Bond for his wife and became the inspiration for his story book, published in 1958

‘A Bear Called Paddington’

Paddington loves marmalade and is so very frightfully polite, yes sir; he later acquired a pair of red Wellington boots and was adopted by a London family, the Browns.

What a lovely little face, floppy hat, big paws and shaggy coat and with such charming manners. He’s looking out at all the trains pulling in under the vast Victorian iron archways, staring bemused at a 21st century generation of preoccupied lives; the frantic crowds, busying this way and that; he’s just waiting longingly for a hello and how’d you do.  

Many London children were evacuated from Paddington station to the country during World War II. With labels around their necks and a small suitcase of meagre possessions, they were transported safely away from the city to new homes; this too was the inspiration for Paddington’s own label.

‘Please Look After This Bear. Thank You.’

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Signs that Stick (Out) #OnThisDay #War #signs #life #death #Hastings

Speedy lives, racing around, lots to do, no time to stop, then one day or some odd day, or some particular day comes along and in it there’s a sign; you stop to read it – twice, no more than a simple 3 minutes of your time, but what it says is striking…

On this site stood

The Swan Inn

& 1,2 & 3 Swan Terrace

destroyed by enemy action 

at about mid-day on Sunday

23rd May 1943 with consider-

able loss of life.

After that, you walk away much slower, much softer and much more removed from all around you, and furthermore you contemplate a situation of absolute pain, horror and devastation precisely 83 years ago, down that same path you casually wander today.

The land on which you stand has played many a-parts.

Pass with a new eye and a different tread.

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Refuge and Respite in Poetry #poetry #peace #War #France #GreatBritain

Legend has it that during the Second World War, the RAF (British Aircraft) parachuted thousands of copies of the poemLiberte‘ over occupied France. It was written in 1942 by French bohemian poet, and founder of the surrealist movement, Paul Eluard (1895-1952).
This act illustrates the social and spiritual power of poetry in the face of terror, and the delicacy and beauty of hope founded in effective words, which unite, inspire and console people.

Paul himself, was a sickly man; a wounded and scarred (mentally and physically) soldier of the First World War, at one point writing up to 150 letters a day to families, announcing the death of fellow soldiers.  

The War soon over, he wrote home in 1919, ‘We will now fight for happiness after having fought for Life.’ 

He found solace in poetry and in friendships with other writers.
His wife, Gaia, helped him with his poetry verses, and gave him the confidence, encouragement and security he needed to achieve her own belief, that he would be ‘a great poet.’ Never underestimate the power of the woman behind the man.

‘Liberte’ is a poem of 21 short stanzas with 4 lines per verse, each ending with 

‘I write your name’

The verses reflect on daily life: ‘my dog greedy,’ ‘the lamp that gives light,’ ‘the sill of my door,’ ‘the wakened paths,’ ‘desk and the trees’ as well as incorporating powerful images such as ‘naked solitude,’ ‘marches of death,’ ‘soldiers weapons.’  

The final verse states:

‘By the power of the word

I regain my life

I was born to know you

And to name you

LIBERTY.’

When Paul died in November 1952, ‘the whole world was in mourning,’ stated Robert Sabatier. He was buried at Pere-Lachaise cemetery, just outside Paris, where a crowd of thousands had spontaneously gathered in the streets to accompany his casket to its final resting place.

Freedom, Equality, Democracy, Love, Brotherhood and Peace.

For this we fight (and so we write) every day.

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Silence please #remembrance #OnThisDay #VeteransDay #Poppy

2 minutes of silent remembrance is held today 11.11.2015.
On 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, it is customary to take a short, respectful, commemorative moment to remember those who sacrificed the gift of life for freedom, all unknown and known warriors and heroes, during the Great War, the Second World War and all global wars and conflicts.

‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them…’

From ‘For The Fallen’ written in 1914 by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

This is the Pride of the Poppy; the symbol of ‘the few’

A simple, yet profound statement: “this is my thanks, I remember you.”
A picture paints a thousand words…a picture speaks volumes…picturing this field at the Tower of London in November 2014 was extremely moving…888,246 ceramic red poppies. 
Two weeks later, there was a knock at the door, a postal delivery for me, and then a tear of joy and a tear of sadness at the realisation of the gravity of the moment, for One of these beautiful Poppies is now mine.

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London Poppy Day  #RoyalBritishLegion #remembrance #poppy

Today is LONDON POPPY DAY, 29th October 2015.

‘By wearing a Royal British Legion poppy, you are helping provide support to thousands of veterans, Service men and women.’

The photo below was one of the very many striking images from last year’s (2014) 100 year anniversary of the commemoration of the outbreak of The Great War 1914-1918.

The bronze statue depicts a valiant, yet humble, ordinary War soldier, with hat and rifle. He is coated in red paper poppies, floating all around him, in his arms and at his feet. The monument itself was placed in Trafalgar Square, where during the war rallying speeches were delivered and after the war, joyful celebrations took place.  

He faces the direction of Westminster Abbey, where the tomb of the unknown warrior lies, and towards St Stephens Tower: Big Ben, whose powerful chimes of 11 bells at 11 o’clock on the 11th November, 1918 marked the end of The Great War.

In the background is the glorious St Martin-in-the-Fields church, and behind him lies the National Gallery, home to an incredible collection of paintings.  

He is immortalised and He is home.

I am so in awe of this incredible city.

Do I feel proud of my capital? Absolutely!

The generosity of the British for charitable work is unsurpassable. The ability of people to raise money for so many worthwhile causes is commendable and the kindness shown and the astonishing amounts saved and donated is amazing.
With one Poppy pinned with pride to your coat, you say so much…

You remember all those who have fought for freedom and kept our country safe.

In your honour, London salutes you.

‘When you part from me, and depart our earth,

Your scarlet poppy will grow to bow in a breeze,

Their trembling wave of ‘cheerio, goodbye!’

Makes desert red; while silence bleeds into a distant cry.’

K.B. – 2015


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Nelson triumphs at sea, then falls on Victory #victory #OnThisDay #Nelson #history

“Now gentlemen, let us do something today which the world may talk of hereafter.”
Lord Collingwood, British admiral, before the Battle of Trafalgar, 21st October, 1805…210 years ago today.

After four hours of fierce exchanges and superlative manoeuvring by British commanders off the south west coast of Spain, the French Admiral Villeneuve (Pierre-Charles-Jean-Baptiste Silvestre de Villeneuve – a man not short of names, but short of ideas) was humiliatingly beaten by the British. Of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet, 18 ships were destroyed, more than half its strength; they were no match in this game of battleships. The superb strategic moves and unconventional tactics of the British Naval Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, were masterfully winning.
  

“First gain the victory and then make the best use of it you can.”

However our Inspirational leader (now aged 47 years) had already greatly suffered in Napoleonic battles-of-the-seas, with the loss of an eye at Corsica and an arm at Tenerife. On this ‘Trafalgar‘ day, he was mortally wounded by a French sniper as he stood on the deck of his flagship Victory.  
V for Victory and sadly, V for Victim.
His body was first preserved in a barrel of brandy and then transported back to London from Gibraltar in a lead-lined coffin filled with spirits of wine.  

He was buried in St Pauls Cathedral on 9th January, 1806.

Toast our British hero with a swig of brandy, maybe in one of the many Lord Nelson pubs?!
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