Dance revivalists? Oh, yes. Our Victory Service Club hosts marvelous wartime gatherings for both dancers and promenaders—those in darling vintage clothing who stroll along the sidelines. They are quite different from the lads who engage in actual reenactments. They don’t mind getting their gear dirty. Indeed, the rougher the bunker conditions the better! There has been an astounding growth in interest in World War I and II. People want to recall a time when Britons did something important; it's a sort of collective pride. Of course, the war period is heavily romanticized these days. Everyone focuses on the music which was filled with lyrics of longing. Then there are the televised shows with antique cars and retro dresses which gloss over the horror of war and the lives lost. Still, it keeps our history alive, if somewhat warped.
-- Excerpt from The Tide Turns
Vacation memories typically include images of palm trees swaying beside tinted surf, stunning sculptures gracing foreign art galleries, or snow-capped mountain vistas. Call me strange, but when I recall my travels through the UK, I often see cenotaphs: those solemn, stone edifices built as points of remembrance for those whose remains are elsewhere. It seems that nearly every village in England has a cenotaph dedicated to the memory of lost soldiers. You can hardly miss them as you drive from one hamlet to the next. These silent statements are quite profound.
I am not normally maudlin. This all just comes to mind because I am penning this post on November 11th. It is Remembrance Day—or Poppy Day, if you will—across the Commonwealth. Everyone from trash collectors to train conductors will sport a red poppy today and pause at exactly 11:00 AM for two minutes of silence to recall those lost in war.
As Professor Rosemont notes in The Tide Turns, the war years are heavily romanticized to make them palatable for our current generation. No one can comfortably look directly at any war, but we can all gently embrace our histories. With the WWI centenary (1918-2018), there has been an even greater increase in revivalist events hosted across the United Kingdom. Dad’s Army—a campy, 1960’s comedy about Britain’s Home Guard—is being broadcast once again. The BBC is airing stellar songs from the early 1900s, and the countryside has been dotted with reenactment camps and big band music dances. After sharing a few pints and a few songs, folks will walk back home, placing their poppies upon the village cenotaph to remember those who danced before them.
Like I said, go ahead…call me strange, but when I recall my travels, I still sometimes see cenotaphs.
This blog is where I post my inspirations for each book in the Barrington Bay series as well as behind-the-scenes tips, pics, and other tidbits. Feel free to click 'Read More' for in-depth posts.