...since the Armistice of 1918 was signed.
J. joined his regiment for the march-past in Whitehall. I went to the local ceremonies at London Bridge. Later, to Westminster Abbey to hear the great pealing out of bells and to see the beacon lit, one of a great number across the whole country.
The bond that unites people in Britain for a short while each November is something quite extraordinary - and ordinary. People feel somehow normal: there is a sense of neighbourliness. In a packed pub, a kilted piper started to play and everyone applauded and called for more. Older men wearing medals - and especially really elderly men wearing a row of medals - were greeted everywhere with respect. At Waterloo, taxi drivers wearing special "poppy rides" jackets offered free transport to Remembrance events to any Forces chaps, serving or retired.
People chatted, spoke of family members who had served in the Great War for the Second World War.. I thought of my grandfather, wounded twice on the Western Front...he reurned home finally to his wife and baby son...my Uncle John who in turn went on to serve twenty years later with the RAF in the Second World War and was killed, shot down over the North Sea...
As I write this, the beacons are still burning. When I am very old, I will remember that I was in London to mark the centenary of the Armistice, and that I remembered conversations with my grandfather who fought in that war.