Thursday, November 11, 2010

At the going down of the sun ...

At Quigley's Corner in Eastern Passage I stood to view the passing of the veterans on their way to the cenotaph today.

My plan was to watch them go by and then pop back into my car and take the dogs for a run.

But after they passed by, an unexpected thing happened.

The spectators fell into step and marched silently behind them.  I joined them.  It was a 10 minute walk to the Legion along the busy shore road.  Cars pulled to the side.  Owners turned off engines and got out and stood.   Some joined the marchers. 

The Legion is an unassuming white building backing onto Halifax Harbour with a view of McNab's Island.

The crowd assembled behind the Legion at the Cenotaph. 

As we arrived the honour guard was already standing at the four corners of the monument facing outwards.

They remained there.  Unmoving.  Through the whole ceremony.

"O Canada" was sung.  A prayer was read. "Last Post" was played.  Many wreaths were laid. 

And when it was over, with no prompting, the crowd moved quietly forward and added their own poppy pins to the display.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon -- taken from his much longer poem:  For The Fallen (1914)
The last two lines were inscribed on the Cenotaph

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