Pete Beckary

Manchester England experienced an horrific terrorist attack Monday evening May 22nd. I have been watching the live coverage on Sky News to stay informed on the aftermath of this tragedy.

Tuesday evening local UK time a vigil was held in the center of Manchester with civil and religious leaders gathered to share a few words. Poet Tony Walsh read a poem about Manchester and quoted Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem – commonly referred to as the unofficial anthem of England. Jerusalem is much like God Bless America – often sung before our nation anthem or in times of turmoil here in the USA – and known by all.

In 1916 Hubert Parry wrote an anthem based on William Blake’s poem And Did Those Feet In Ancient Times with the rest being history.

There are several versions of the song from the traditional style one would expect Queen Elizabeth to have on her playlist to a very jazzy version done my Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The one that stands out for me is from the soundtrack of Chariots of Fire with the song being sung in a church. Interestingly enough, Jerusalem includes the phrase Chariots of Fire in its lyrics.

I had the privilege of going TDY (Temporary Duty) in the Fall of 1983 as a young Airman and have returned for several other trips, the last in 2000. I always felt at home in the UK, having been to Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and England during my various travels. I am of the Heinz 57 Variety with ancestry from several countries including England and Ireland. I was able to blend in and recall being asked for directions while roaming around the beautiful City of Cambridge. I will return someday soon and sadly may find it very different than my last journey there.

I wanted to get my thoughts out and published here – I’ll add photos later.

Tune in next time:

Something that caught my attention watching the Sky News coverage was the use of the phrase Minute of Silence.  I have always heard it called a Moment of Silence. Perhaps I just discovered yet another difference between the USA and our English-speaking friends across the pond. More on this later. (Americans are in too much of a hurry!)