The chief of these is love

On the shoreward side of the edge of Whiteabbey village is a small war memorial.

It sits in a small garden of flower beds.

Four lanes of traffic roar by , day and night.

This morning I walked to it, from the Loughshore  park.

As I made my way along the shoreline , I could hear the sound of gunnery practice from Palace Barracks, across Belfast Lough.

I got to the memorial at 10.58.

Three old men in suits were present. One carried the flag of the British Legion. The other two carried poppy wreaths.

Precisely , the ceremony began. The silence was observed. Some walkers and a cyclist stopped, in respect. Then the three men walked away. There were two small wooden crosses planted in the flower bed, remembering men from  the Great War.

I , too, walked away. As I re-traced my steps , the sound of gunfire floated over the lough again. Did it stop at the eleventh hour? I don’t know.

The old certainties returned.

There will always be war.

The “glorious dead” are only remembered by those who loved and grieve for them.

This little ceremony was replicated thousands of times today.

 

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