…ignorance and disrespect.
Yesterday, Remembrance Sunday, I was waiting at Birmingham, New Street station for the somewhat awkwardly timed 11:04 train. I wondered, particularly with passengers from a large mix of countries, if there would be anything like silence at 11:00.
At 10:59:20 an announcement was made on the lines of “Ladies and Gentlemen, it is nearly 11:00. We will shortly be holding two minutes silence for the dead of the two world wars.”
I noticed that a few heads were bowed, but the general chatter did not cease. We could see the train held just beyond the station, and so people began to jostle their way forwards to get the best position.
At 11:00:02 – “Bing-Bong. Do not leave your luggage unattended. Unattended luggage will be removed and may be destroyed.” The hubbub continued. A voice behind me bellowed: “SILENCE!”, and was ignored.
Thirty seconds later a station staff member began to shout: “This is a four coach train. Move to the other end of the platform.” Did they not know this fact ten minutes earlier? People began to move, but some of us remained stoically silent and in place. The staff member continued her shouting, and then began to push those who were not yet moving.
The same voice from behind me muttered: “Fuck it! I’ll do it tomorrow.”
I can understand the ignorance of many to the solemnity of the occasion, or even that in their busy lives they had forgotten why they were sporting poppies, but there is no excuse for the total disrespect by station staff, particularly after the first announcement.
Shame on them.