Deconfinement, Ongoing Remembrance, Heatwaves and Big Skies - June at No.fifty6
Posted on 30th June 2020 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.
As we write this, 1st July is upon us, a date synonymous with The Somme, the date on which the 1916 battle commenced. For us it is a day for reflection and looking forward, a date bound up with so many reasons why we now call The Somme our home.
This year of course, Somme commemorations are different due to Covid. There are no big organised ceremonies but the essence of The Somme is not to be found in any ceremony. It is to be found looking over the now beautiful fields, the skyline, the dips and curves which caress The Somme. Come here and you truly connect with the land and its history. There is no place in the world like it. Come and remember, come and reflect. Come on a personal journey, as we did many years ago, a journey for us which continues still. The boys who were here, those who still lie, those who went home who have now all passed, they maybe would like pomp and ceremony with the great and the good at Thiepval, but we also believe they would have appreciated being remembered in quiet, personal ways, more than 100 years later.
So while we would have been happy to stand in a favourite spot this morning, we are inextricably bound and connected to The Lochnagar Crater. For the first time in 41 years, Richard Dunning has not been here for a 1 July. So we were more than happy to lead, on his behalf, an intimate, short, symbolic service at Lochnagar this morning at 07.28hrs, the time the Battle commenced. Julie led the proceedings with words read from Richard, one wreath and one French gerbe were laid by Mayor Christian Bernard, and our friend Cyrille Delplanque played the bagpipes to start and finish, and we blew our whistles just as the men did to encourage their comrades over the top. We stood in silence to honour them.
We can never say thank you in person to the men who walked this hallowed ground 104 years ago today, but we can remember, we can reflect and we can pledge to be good people, live good lives, and embrace our fragile, hard won freedoms to do good. Thank you to that gallant generation who gave so much. We will remember them.