Whilst a blanket of grey clouds hung over the Cathedral on early Sunday morning and the icy wind hit us with a fierce determination, the people of Lincoln stood together in solidarity. 100 years since the First World War ended, we have not forgotten.
By 11am, Cathedral Square had become covered with a mass of people. Hundreds turned up to commemorate loved ones and the red splashes of poppies were an ever present theme. When the trumpets sounded to clarify the start of the two minutes silence, there was a complete stillness.
I was overcome by a wave of emotion when taking it all in. I remembered the stories I had been told over and over again about my great Grandad’s experience of the First World War. The treacherous retelling of memories had been engraved into my mind. He had been one of the ‘lucky’ ones. After fighting in France for 2 years, he had been made to return home with a severe case of trench foot. But he did get to come home, whilst many of his friends, unfortunately, didn’t. My mum still treasures the same rosemary beads that he had taken to France.
My great Grandad was lucky enough not to be killed in the war, but 16 million people sadly did not live to tell their own stories. That includes a civilian death toll of around 6 million and 10 million military personnel.
The events at the cathedral brought a perspective of joy to the sorrows of the day. A remembrance parade, an armistice centenary bell ringing and several services to remember loved ones that were lost during the war all took place throughout the day.
Military parade member John Sanders said: “I’ve done this for ten years, and I really enjoy it. Every year we come to Lincoln and every year it’s just as special. But of course this year is 100 years which makes it extra important. It’s great to see such a good sense of community and fantastic atmosphere.”
Now, as the poppies begin to be unpinned, we are still reminded through the stories of loved ones of how horrific the war really was. And it’s through those words and terrible memories that we remember.