Jilara (jilara) wrote,

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It's 1975, and I'm in London. A day or two before, the Hilton Hotel was bombed. The Tube has gone from amicable to strained, with people being searched as they get on the trains. I get singled out for special attention, since I am about the right height and weight and hair color to match the "Bomb Girl" being sought by the police. People relax when they hear an American accent.

We're at the Tower of London, which is still operating as normal. I'm telling my boyfriend all about the artillery pieces in the basement of the White Tower when he looks down and sees a bronze plaque. On this spot, a little over a year before, a bomb detonated and killed one person and injured a few dozen more. He freaks out. I point at a bronze artillery piece with a blown breach near us and say something to the effect of "And this probably took out several members of its cannon crew, when it blew. There is war all around us, here."

We take the Tube across the Thames to see the HMS Belfast. (The Tower Bridge is closed to all traffic because of the threat of terrorism.) And we are standing on the deck of this ironically-named WWII battle cruiser that supported the Normandy invasion when we see them: tall ships, coming down the Thames. Maybe a dozen of them. One by one, they pass us by, this largest gathering of tall ships in recent memory, passing under the Tower Bridge and down the Thames, heading for America. Heading for the Bicentennial.

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