Day 4: Victory in Europe Day 70th Anniversary

Victory in Europe 70th Anniversary 
Today was VE Day here in London. I had the privilege to be in Westminster during the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in Europe Day Ceremony at the Cenotaph (Britains tomb of the unknown soldier essentially) and the laying of the wreaths. It was so incredible- I cannot even describe the feeling of that moment and how lucky I feel to have been in London for this monumental moment in history. I literally stood on a fence to be able to see some of the ceremony and caught glimpses of Prince Andrew and all the party leaders of Britain including newly elected Prime Minister David Cameron. I was able to go and view the wreaths up close after the ceremony. What a moment. There were also many WW2 veterans there for the ceremony and I stood beside one at the Cenotaph and I was just in awe of what he lived through and helped to do. What an event and I am just so grateful to have witnessed it in person amidst a giant crowd and sing God Bless the Queen with them (because when in London....) as they celebrated the biggest Victory their country may ever see.
Standing on the fence to see it all happen!

Look at that crowd!!!

The Cenotaph

There was also a collection of World War 2 vehicles and artillery showcased in St. James Park today. There were men and women dressed in period uniforms and it was like stepping back in time to the war. War memorials all around London had wreaths placed on them as well. 

A bit rainy today. Always wear your trench coat with a hood when in London. Always
We also visited the Banqueting House today. This is one of the only surviving architectural pieces from the banqueting era and was designed by the famed architect Inigo Jones in 1619. It is also famous for the ornate ceiling by Ruben's painted in 1635. This is the only remaining part of Whitehall Palace and is famous as the site of King Charles I's beheading in 1649.
Next up was the Household Cavalry Museum and Horse Guards Parade area. There were the classic mounted cavalry outside the museum and of course I had to get a picture. The Horse Guards and Horse Guards Parade have barely changed over time. They retain ancient practices and keep the traditions of Britain alive.
I would find the horses in London
Also visited Trafalgar Square for the WW2 memorials featured there today. While standing in Trafalgar, this old style London double decker bus with 1940's advertisements and the people on the bus were dressed in period 1940's outfits and waving newspapers flashing the famous VICTORY headline. I thought this was such a fun touch. 

Back in time 70 years
In Trafalgar Square, the change the far right statue regularly. Right now it is "Gift Horse", a large skeletal horse with a bow on its front leg that reads the daily London financial market. Of course I was excited about another Equestrian thing in London.
Gift Horse
Trafalgar Square
Another aspect of the VE day celebration was these informational points all throughout Trafalgar. They each had photos and information and even an audio speech from Winston Churchill about what happened on VE Day in 1945 in London. People crowded Trafalgar then and jumped in the fountains, danced in the street and celebrated in a way they had not celebrated in years. To glimpse that through photos in the place it happened on the day it happened was so incrediable.
VE Day Remembrance
Overall, what a day. I am so grateful to have been in London for the 70th anniversary of VE Day. To have it coincide with my project and add so much to my understanding of the war and the people who survived it is just beyond amazing. Everywhere I turn I see something else I want to do or see and I know my 3 weeks will go too quick but I am enjoying every second. I am off to bed, walked 8 miles today. Tomorrow we have a walking tour of the East End and then because it is going to rain (surprise, surprise) we are planning to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum. Fun fun fun!!!

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