Memories and Emotions

October 7, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Lydia Smith photo



Hazel Speed

I would like to share with you some special events and historic moments which moved me greatly and still do when I reflect on the same. All of us share in the ability to experience and show emotion. Often we are moved by the same things but then each of us has our own area that causes a tear to emerge.

May I share just a few which affect me in that way.

I recall attending The Last Night of The Proms at The Royal Albert Hall on a number of occasions and the fun and pride in singing along to “Rule Britannia” and “Land of Hope and Glory”. (I also remember with happiness the occasion in documentary when the girls from “Birds of a Feather” TV series performed their own rendition of “Rule Britannia” along with Lesley Garrett – it was truly brilliant. One cannot help but feel deep emotions singing such songs.


Another event at that venue is the British Legion Annual Festival of Remembrance. I have been privileged to attend, and with pride we all in the audience clapped as the Royal British Legion and Union Flag along with those of our different Military Services and Charities made their appearance and marched down the steps at one end of the auditorium, then across the centre floor to the platform and up to special seats for each group. The Military Services have their own special marches – and wonderful uniforms!

As we know, within the evening event, we have seen in previous years (though modern times has altered the format of the occasion), Royal Naval Team Cutlass displays and rope/window climbing in synchronised formats. This is the Massed Band of The Royal Marines on Bird Cage Walk

Then the impeccable bugle performances of The Royal Marines (and I always find it stunning during ‘Beating of the Retreat’ when The Massed Band of The Royal Marines march down Birdcage Walk in London wearing capes and white helmets. So romantic and impressive too – as if they have all come to rescue me – I wish!).

There is something appealing about The Royal Air Force, especially remembering depictions of pilots in films wearing bomber jackets and taking to the skies entering into ‘dog fights’ in The Battle of Britain. The Vulcan Bombers, Jump Jet, Spitfires, Lancaster and Wellington Bombers along with the technology of Wallace Barnes’ famous Bouncing Bomb have been featured in popular films. All were required to keep Britain free. Likewise submariners, aircraft-carriers, destroyers and battleships protected our waters and still do. We owe them a great ongoing debt. Thank you for what you do not only to protect the shores of the UK, but in helping in areas of need throughout the world whenever and wherever possible.

The prime reason for the Festival of Remembrance Ceremony is to remember the fallen in war and show our thanks to those who survived. The following day, a Sunday, is the Service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall and those who have served, still do, and relatives of those who gave their all for our freedom, all march past, saluting with heads turned in salute to the cenotaph in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and Royal Family Members. We all join in with the military bands as they play marches, and the popular songs of the day. So moving.

The Chelsea Pensioners entered the auditorium of The Royal Albert hall Festival of Remembrance last and always received a standing ovation with slow clapping to mark a gentle beat to match their slower foot-falls.

As the evening drew to a close, there was always a mini church service in the centre floor of the auditorium and it was ‘hats off’ until the end and during these moments, the red petals fell from the dome of The Royal Albert Hall onto the ground and a few inevitably settled on the perfectly still servicemen and servicewomen, each petal representative of a life lost.

All this is moving in itself but the tear-jerking moment for me was when a drum roll could be heard, and military command for “hats on”, turn around, heads up to face The Royal Box and salute Her Majesty The Queen and Royal Family present. Her Majesty has to remain stoic but it must move her as it brings tears to my eyes even writing about it.


Then I think of two historic funerals. One of Woodbine Willie, a religious Minister Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, also a poet, in World War One who always gave out Woodbine cigarettes to men usually the wounded and dying in the trenches. When he died, and as his own coffin processed through the town streets, apparently someone from the crowd – most likely a Serviceman, went up to the coffin and placed a packet of Woodbine cigarettes on the top!


Then there is footage of William Booth, Founder of The Salvation Army, whose own funeral processed through the East End of London as his work to help those in need began outside The Blind Beggar pub.

That great man was Founder of a huge and diverse international organisation yet he said no one would be more surprised than he, if one day he found himself in Heaven.

When studying this film clip during preparation of this Article, I could not believe that his William Booth’s Coffin was carried out of the International Headquarters of The Salvation Army in Queen Victoria Street, London – you see, my Late Parents and I actually lived there in the l970s because they themselves were Officers of The Salvation Army.

It truly is a remarkable film footage and moves me also. What a heritage he gave to the world and hope to those in need. A responsibility for those who now Act in his Name n’est-ce pas?


The last example moves me enormously and I can never say the words to describe the same without emotion in my voice.

Beethoven, the great Composer was totally deaf when he composed his 9th Symphony ‘Ode to Joy‘ and when he conducted the orchestra at its public performance they say he kept in beat with the musicians through the vibrations of the instruments. The touching part for me was yet to come, in that at the end of the performance someone had to turn Beethoven around so he could see his standing ovation as he could not hear it so was unaware it was happening.

None of us know, when our own life span ends if there will be any legacy of our works, metaphorical or actual but it would be nice to think each one of us was worthy of an ovation for something worthwhile wouldn’t it, whether we know it or not!









Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing states of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short:

Art sites:


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