Today in Westminster Abbey a special Armistice Day service was held following the deaths of Bill Stone who was 108, Henry Allingham 113 and Harry Patch, 111.
I was wondering whether whether any other countries mark this signing of the armistice with a two minutes silence. It certainly seems to be increasing in the UK with shops, offices, factories, schools etc falling silent. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq perhaps make us realise how peace is never really with us and also how grateful we should be that people gave up their lives so we can live in freedom.
Dame Vera Lynn singing We'll Meet Again is probably the most memorable World War 2 song in the UK and the Commonwealth. The Forces Sweetheart was only 22 when she first recorded it and is now the grand old age of 92.She toured Europe and The Far East during the Second World War providing a much needed boost to the morale of the forces. The song was popular not just because it was a great tune and she was a wonderful singer, but because it lifted people's spirits in a very dark and frightening time.
I was born towards the end of World War 2 and when I was little, this was still a very popular song. We had very little money to go on holiday and so I used to go on bus day trips with my grandparents to York, Edinburgh, Scarborough, The Lake District and other popular places in Scotland and the North of England. On the way back the people always used to sing popular songs of the day and some from the Wars. We'll Meet Again is one I always remember and it brings back lots of happy memories of those times.
Dame Vera stopped performing in 1999 so at the Festival of Remembrance on Saturday in The Royal Albert Hall, Hayley Westenra performed the song with the Fron Male Voice Choir. You can see the performance below. At 2 mins 49 seconds the video screens show Vera Lynn singing and some wartime film of Allied troops. She attended the Festival and you can see her right at the end of the video. She is still very popular.
It was good to see that this year Hayley Westenra and Dame Vera Lynn jointly launched the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal which aims to raise £31 million to support the Afhgan War's generation of wounded and bereaved.