Credits @ Leticia G. Benitez

It was a sunny Sunday morning, and the Coventry´s War Memorial Park is crowded with people of all ages; some of them, dressed in their army uniforms. They have all gathered together to remember all their relatives and friends who have died in the wars, not only in the First and Second World War but also in Syria, Iraq, Sudan… as well as the fallen in the terrorist’s attacks in London and Manchester. “It is to remember your friends who are no longer here”, declares a young man in his army costume, who was deployed in Afghanistan and has come today with his wife and two little children. “It is important for me to be here with my family, to support me”.

The two-minute silence has arrived and a sepulchral silence surrounds everyone there, some with their eyes closed, others standing tall. It is a sad moment, “because a lot of people have lost someone”, says one former military with a walking stick who after eleven years in the army has retired due to a hip cancer, and who would join again if he could. But, “if those people wouldn’t have given their lives, we wouldn’t be here today, and we all would be speaking German”, he jokes.

Credits @ Leticia G. Benitez

Lord Bishop of Coventry, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, who has led the ceremony, has started the event with words of hope. “We remember them with thanksgiving”, he has prayed. And all those present have, then, made the commitment to work for peace. “We will” they have professed. They all agree that is important to bear in mind this day, as an 87-year-old former serviceman who joined the Royal Tank Regime in 1949 and has fought in the Korean War admits. He has been coming every year since 1999, and it is impossible not to notice him because he draws everybody’s´ attention with the big medals hanging from his uniform; there is no more space for another one. “These are my father´s”, he explains while he points them out, “he was in the First World War and in the Second; he became a machine gunner at the age of 16”, he adds proudly. His father was his reason to join the army.

Later on, the religious service has been followed by the British anthem and the annual parade. But today, this celebration is not only a sad moment, because this year, 2017 commemorates the 50th anniversary of Coventry twinning with the City of Kiel, in Germany. Both damaged from the Second World War came with the idea to do a friendship link in 1947, and so, they started a trend which has been followed in many parts of the world. Now Coventry is twinned with 26 cities all around the world, bidding to be ‘The City of Peace and Reconciliation’. So, with eight host visitors from Kiev, the Reverend has remembered that “we have come here to celebrate this friendship to make it last forever and show the world that friendship is better than conflict”, because “all people can do extraordinary things”.

Coventry was one of the most important industries in the World Wars, as it played, especially during the Great War, a key role in supplying Britain’s military. Besides, the Second World War destroyed in 1040, during the so-called Coventry Blitz, the majority of the buildings and factories, including its old cathedral, and about 568 people died.


Leticia G. Benitez

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