Shortly after arriving in the United Kingdom this summer to begin my postgraduate studies, I promised myself that I would attend the annual Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. Although I have taken part in ceremonies in and around my hometown of Toronto, Canada, I was not quite sure what to expect from such a large gathering of people.
Upon arriving at the Cenotaph this past Sunday, an unusual combination of joy and sorrow overtook me. Realizing that I was merely one among thousands standing in the brisk streets of London to honour and remember the millions of men and women who have served their countries was an overwhelming experience. As Big Ben sounded eleven times and the Last Post chillingly echoed to mark the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the deafening silence and immeasurable respect shown by all demonstrated just how important Remembrance Day is. Afterwards, during the march, the honour and pride that radiated from the thousands of veterans – young and old – was transmitted throughout the entire crowd.
Despite the presence of some very notable people – Queen Elizabeth II and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, for instance – everyone became equal as they paid their respects and showed their support. Such a mass gathering of remembrance did not leave a soul untouched.
The video below provides a glimpse into this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony at the Cenotaph in London.
For pictures and more information on the ceremony, read Lest we forget: Queen, Kate and William pay their respects at the Cenotaph as Britain comes to standstill on Remembrance Sunday (Daily Mail).
Karin Salk graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Degree in History and North American Studies. She is currently undertaking postgraduate work at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.