All eyes were directed toward the other end of the parade ground in front of Buckingham Palace watching two of the Queen’s Guard moving through the ceremony to change the posted guards. They were dressed impeccably smart in ceremonial uniforms carrying on a tradition that has extended hundreds of years.
There are horses, flags, guns, marching bands, big fuzzy black hats and swords. It is the pinnacle of pomp and pageantry.
However, I was looking the other direction, watching the french horn player twist his instrument in circles working the spittle through the piping and out the bell. Not so much the pinnacle of pomp and pageantry – but a necessity if you don’t want your french horn to sound like it is gargling with salt water.
I’ve written previously on some reasons why I’m quite keen toward Brits and now add to the list.
1. Pomp and pageantry. I can’t think of a circumstance in which Brits might not seize the opportunity to add a significant amount of pomp…and I love it! I love ceremony, procession, pomp, formality and marching bands that play marching songs (think John Phillip Souza). Brits are pompous (often times in both senses of the word!). I don’t know that I know Brits well enough to say that to be British is to be inclined toward pomp, but I don’t know that it would be far off. Ceremony in regard to tradition is deeply ingrained in this culture, and it ought to be celebrated. It is one thing that makes Brits distinctly British.
This is an exceptional people who have done much in 1,000 years. Frankly, I am a bit perturbed at Brits who seem so quick to criticize their heritage and hand it over to multiculturalism in the name of tolerance. I see it happening in my own country (USA). It is the ceremonial parade of tradition that might just serve as a reminder to those who undermine their own country of the greatness Britain was and help some regain a respect for their culture.
2. The monuments. I’ve now made about five trips past Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, 10 Downing Street, Parliament and Westminster Abbey. It all seems surreal being here and seeing it all but as I’ve continued to learn more about British history the more I appreciate the buildings and monuments that stand as a testimony to great architects (like Christopher Wren), great heroes (like Admiral Lord Nelson and his decisive victory at Trafalgar) and great statesman (like Winston Churchill). The monuments are grand, and formal and imposing and do justice to the people for whom they honor.
3. The city is photogenic. Okay, this one isn’t so much about Brits as London, but let’s face it, London has got to be one of the coolest – if not the coolest – city on earth. Because of the ubiquitousness of monuments, historical sites, great architecture and famous places, there is never ending fodder at which to point a camera. So, in that spirit, here are a few photos from the day.