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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
There are just two more days of Beyond the deepening shadow: the Tower remembers.

Although the tickets to be in the moat have all sold out, this event is still open to everyone who can get there.

The viewing available from above runs for 3/4 of a mile from the Tower to Tower Bridge. It is very busy by the Tower but there are were lots of spaces available at the front if you walk around to the end by Tower Bridge to look over when I was there Thursday.

The lighting of the torches starts at 5pm after the playing of the Last Post. The moat is in darkness until one Beefeater comes over the drawbridge carrying a flaming torch and descends into the moat where the volunteers, dressed in grey boiler suits, are waiting silently with the other Beefeaters.

You might think that there would be not much to see with just the torches and I think that the organisers were expecting the attendees in the moat to just walk through using the walkways installed for them. Moat tickets were sold at 30 minute intervals clearly indicating that this was expected to be the case. However the event has taken on a life of its own and attendees in the moat and above are staying to simply "stand and stare."

This is because the experience is quite simply mesmerising. While I was in the Moat on both Monday and Thursday I did not see one attendee above me move from their place and I was quite lost in the experience myself. The Beefeaters stand apart among the flames casting huge shadows on the wall of the Tower behind them and the volunteers in grey move silently around lighting the ten thousand Torches until the whole Moat is dazzling flame.

All this can be seen by anyone for the whole North side of the Moat from the Tower to Tower Bridge by leaning over the side.

The poppies in 2014 were wonderful and moving but they were static. This is alive with people and flames. No picture can do it justice.

It also represents that wonderful, ground breaking at the time, decision that all those who lost their lives would be treated the same regardless of rank and status.

It was clear that some of the wealthy would have bought a superior monument for their dead and would have had the finances to bring their dead home. But money did not talk like it did with Scott's team ( where the widows were awarded compensation according the the status of their husbands) and on the Titanic where the First Class passengers got priority in the lifeboats. All those who died got the same tombstone and each family were given 66 characters to add their own message.

There is a wonderful programme with Dan Cruickshank revealing the history of how all the decisions about how the graveyards and memorials would be designed and what stone and wording would be used. Kipling was the man behind "Their name liveth for evermore" and "A soldier known only to God" for the tombstones of unknown soldiers.

The flames are lit every night for all those who did not come home in front of all those who are able to come and want to come. There is no special place for those of status to stand. The moat tickets were ten pounds each and open to everyone to buy. But actually it is better viewed from above. It starts at 5pm and goes on until 9pm and remains the same throughout.

If you get the chance to go, do. Those ten thousand flames will burn brightly for another two evenings and then will be gone.

The Arts council and the Lottery fund refused to finance the Poppies four years ago so they did not even bother asking this time.

But the people by their presence have spoken about how they feel about this event. Numbers have grown every evening. Monday I was able to come out of Tower Hill and walk straight down to the Tower gates. Thursday was a different story. Dd2 is one of the Flamelighters and they were told that there were already seven thousand people waiting at 330pm, 90 minutes before the start.

I imagine numbers have grown even more since then. But there is plenty of room to stand all the way round, but probably not right at the Tower unless you get there early.

I will be interested to hear what it is like this weekend from anyone who goes. DG


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:01 pm
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It sounds beautiful, DG. Such a lovely idea.

Though a much smaller display of respect, students from my DS's school have helped create a ‘Silent Army of Trees’ in the main cemetery by attaching placards with the names and basic details of WW1 soldiers to the trees lining the centre of the cemetery. I have driven past and it is moving; I have yet to visit and read the details of the soldiers (I hope the rain hasn't ruined the display).


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
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Location: Herts
How lovely.

There was a town on the news last night who had knitted poppies and hung them from trees.

I hope they make a programme about all the tributes that have been done all over the country.

I too hope that the rain will not ruin too many events tonight. DG


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2015 3:01 pm
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Maybe I should take my own video of the display? I just wish RBL had realised how important a year this was to so many people.

I know our silent silhouettes will be around until the end of the year and then moved to a permanent new location which I will visit to honour the memories of all who went to battle.

I have worn my poppy with pride again this year to show my thanks to all who fought for our freedom which (despite the modern spin) is what they were doing. May our Gods bless them all for the sacrifices they made on behalf of their country. RIP. Lest We Forget.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2018 5:06 pm 
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I visited Wycombe's Silent Army of Trees and I have to say it is very moving. It is in a more pedestrian area of the cemetery so a few people were looking at the names as they walked through and there was even a school trip there. Worth a visit if near by (though I do love to spend time in cemeteries!)


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