Unlike all the usual ceremonies of remembrance - the marching, the trumpets, men with medals, sombre suited dignitaries laying wreaths - this touched me, and stayed with me all day and since. Unexpected, modest, quiet, simple, whenever I recall the experience or try to tell people how moved I was on Piccadilly Station the emotion wells up, still packed inside me.
Maybe because I thought of my grandfathers maybe because of this crazy week we have had in Britain where the government is telling me I have to be a different kind of citizen from the one that made sense of my life.
But mostly because of the simple variety of men (no women though, no Edith Cavells or her sisters) men waiting and aimless in a place that was near where we live before going to a place where we all know what happened.
It was an extraordinary moment.
I saw them later in Sheffield. As the day went on people responded to my tweet and Facebook post that had the same strapline as above, telling me who did it, the artist, sending me a link to the project website, the documentation, the event happening all over the country.
I am not telling you this, I don’t want to believe there was an artist, or know what prizes they won, that adverts went out and people were recruited, briefed, costumed. Daft, because I have done similar things myself and know the pressure to record, evaluate, report.
I always check station war memorials for Deardens, there are three at Manchester Victoria, one at Kings Cross. They will always be there, inert, factual.
This time, I’ll hold on to the first moment, forget how things are made and reported. This time I want to be left with the all it meant to me and not be told how it was made or have my experience aggregated.
Those men in their different uniforms all going to the same place will always be in Piccadilly now.
Have I flown from darkness into light or from light into darkness?
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"Was London really only a few hours away down the road? I asked myself. I had made the break."- H. V. Morton, The Call of England