One Morning In England

by Paul Talbot on November 14, 2014

We sat in deep chairs next to the windows off on the far edge of the British Airways Lounge, nestled just below the sweep of the arching roof of Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

We were up with the soaring girders, looking down on a multilayered bustle.  Crowds churned across an area large enough for two or perhaps three football games.

It was eleven in the morning on November 11, 2014.

On the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that brought World War One to an end, two minutes of silence was observed.

High above the concourses, we looked down on Terminal 5.

Everyone stopped moving.

People stopped in front of escalators and elevators.  Clerks and customers stood still in front of racks of clothing in Harrods and by the perfume counters the World Duty-Free Store.  Everyone stopped moving in the Gordon Ramsay Plane Food Restaurant.

Transactions were put on hold at the currency exchange.  The march of passengers off to board trains for distant B and C gates froze. People hauling carry on baggage and pushing baby carriages all stood still.

The only motion was out on the tarmac, where jets still taxied.

Security clearance lines stopped.

A uniformed inspector stood solemn.  His hands were clasped behind his back and he stared up at a video screen the size of a tennis court hung from the arched ceiling.  He watched an animated display of slowly falling red poppies drifting down over a white background.

A few minutes later, this screen would display an ad for Bahrain World Trade Centre.

We would be drawn back into a world that has shrunk to what seems to be an uncomfortable size.  A world where we head off to the B and C gates to places where once far off dangers are no longer so distant.

And we are reminded here in Terminal 5 at Heathrow that one hundred years after the end the war to end all wars, our progress has been uncertain.

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