Sunday, November 11, 2018
A Scottish song.
A picture from the Smithsonian of November 11th 1918 in New York.
The PONs are up early. The mayor has been at the front gate to borrow the step ladders. The new flags and the new Republique Francaise shield have been hung on the war memorial. It's windy so they are already a wee bit squiffy. '' See you at eleven " says the mayor cheerily .
An interesting diary detail. November 11th 1918. A grey Monday with gusty winds and scudding clouds. Angus's grandfather, back in Scotland on leave, goes to the British Linen Bank on George Street in Edinburgh to withdraw cash. There are unusually long queues. At one minute to eleven all the tellers windows close. The wing collared manager announces that the war will soon come to an end and they all should thank God for victory and deliverance. '' The Pity and the Glory of it all ". As the steeple bells of St.Andrews kirk on the other side of the road start to peel the manager leads the bank staff and customers in singing the doxology.
And here, after some searching ( there are few YouTube examples ) is the doxology sung in a way that people a hundred years ago might recognize : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbjpG0SeXYU
To modern ears this seems an unusual thing to sing. Would anyone today know what the doxology was ? Wonder what song people would sing in 2018 at a moment of national deliverance ? Still a shock to discover that half of the nearly 800,000 British servicemen killed were just 16-24 years old.
At the very last minute ( even though it's a Sunday ) an official plaque has been affixed to the back of the village war memorial. The local plumber drills the holes while the mayor looks on. The firm that installed the fence had put up a sign saying '' More high quality works undertaken by Monsieur Maury and Sons Ltd ". I suggest to the mayor that this might not be 'correcte '. The sign disappears. It will go back up tomorrow.
Paris is where the action is today but our little corner of France will have its quiet gathering at 11.00. Everyone will be there even if it rains.