Sunday, 11 September 2011

Who were the English, where are they now?

Lower Manhattan in1660.  The large
structure toward the tip of the
island is Fort Amsterdam.
(North is to the right).

Having watched the Remembrance Services for 9/11 in New York and here in Grosvenor Square for those British people who lost their lives that terrible day – sharing the British service with my mother – it is yet another (last) landmark in our life together: it brings life home ... the memories that will live on.

They were poignant services as I am sure you will all agree; we then watched ‘Songs of Praise’ which covered the benefits of mixing the faiths, learning from the cultural differences through friends across the races, lots of songs with moving words – and thoughts to think about during these changing times.

The two memorials are very different – one built over the Twin Towers site itself, which has yet to be finished, and the other a garden in Grosvenor Square opposite the American Embassy ... which I look forward to visiting and being able to assimilate all the words and symbolism.

Back to who were the English ... and today who are the English?

Daniel Defoe (1660 – 1731), the English writer, journalist and pamphleteer is notable as being one of the earliest proponents of the novel, and is among the founders of the English novel as shown with the success of Robinson Crusoe.

Defoe wrote this poem to describe the English:

The Romans first with Julius Caesar came
Including all the Nations of that name
Gauls, Greeks and Lowland – and by computation
Auxiliaries or Slaves of Every Nation –
With Hengist – Saxons, Danes with Sueno came
In search of Plunder, not in search of Fame
Scot, Pict and Irish from the Hibernian Shore
And conquering William brought the Normans o’er
... From this Amphibious ill-born mob began
That vain ill-natured thing - an English man –

The customs, Surnames, languages and Manners
Of all the nations are their own Explainers
Whose relicks are so lasting and so strong
They have left a Shibboleth upon our tongue
By which, with easy search you may distinguish
Your Roman – Saxon – Danish – Norman English.

Fate jumbled them together – God knows how!
What’er they were – they’re true born English now.

Spread of  Celts in 3rd Century BC
(Gaulish Language)
Defoe explains ... “I only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such, and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us.  ...  and for the King(King William of the Netherlands) being a foreigner himself, I confess myself moved by it to remind our nation of their own original ... we are really all foreigners ourselves.”

So who are we now ... looking at the participants of the various services ... the Bagpipers with their kilts, together with the Pipes and Drums, in New York playing out the Flag, to the families and friends of the lost, the Colliery Brass Band, the wonderful peoples who inhabit our nations of all colours, particularly shown in today’s Songs of Praise where young people were working together to promote peace and tolerance.

Who are we now – not just the English?  We, who have explored this world ... settling here, there and everywhere ... allowing each of us to share our desire for freedom to live, thrive and build new relationships with others – throwing open our free thinking minds to explore and understand those cultural and traditional differences in the desire to live in a caring and blessed world.

Depiction of the Battle of Hastings
(1066) on the Bayeux Tapestry
Seth Godin in his post of today – lets us know that more than 42 languages are spoken at the Queens Public Library in New York ... and finishes by saying “But now more than ever, I believe we have an obligation to stand up, stand out and to do work that matters. Wherever you are, there's an opportunity to be different, with respect.

We all have recent forbears from other parts of the UK, while some are also descended from more recent immigrants from other European countries and from around the world – these mixes, cultures and desires have been ‘exported’ – the world is one now (almost) ...

.... today – embrace and encourage all peoples and their differences ... let the 21st century have hope.



These be a "mixed bag" of English Peoples ... can you recognise them all? 
First Row:  Alfred the Great, Oliver Cromwell, William Shakespeare, Michael Palin, Georgiana Cavendish, Walter Raleigh, Sting; 
Second Row:  Elizabeth I of England, Bobby Moore, Margaret Thatcher, David Beckham, Harold Godwinson, Kate Winslet, Charles Dickens;
Third Row: Pope Adrian IV, Daniel Craig, Isaac Newton, George Harrison, Jane Austin, Damon Albarn, George Stephenson.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

54 comments:

Joylene said...

I'm feeling good, I recognized most of them. Sir Oliver, Shakespeare, Sting, Elizabeth 1, Thatcher, Beckham, Kate, Charlie, D. Craig, George.

I didn't watch the tribute, but they had a service at the Peace Arch down on the border between BC and Washington, the two flags hanging side by side, and it occurred to me once again that we are more than just neighbours.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thank you Hilary for this wonderful informative post. I saw the TV today with sadness. I had been to my husband's grave.....it's his 13th anniversary of passing away and I thought of all the thousand nwho perished 10 yrs ago.
I am proud to be English and on the ocassions I have been to the US they have made me extremely welcome.
On this sombre day I hope all is well with you.
Yvonne.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joylene - well done .. we'll see you here as a Brit?!

That's interesting to know - do they often have tributes on the border, where dual 'remembrances' (Canadian/American) can be held at specific times.

I think you've nailed it .. we are more than neighbours .. we are all so interlinked.

@ Yvonne - I'm glad you found the post informative - I wasn't sure what to write ..

Your husband's early going is so sad to know about .. especially as you have missed out on so much together - I feel for you.

At times definitely being British is good .. and the Americans always do make us welcome - don't they?

I had a peaceful afternoon with my mother and was able to share a little more time with her ..

Joylene and Yvonne - I think we'll all have a week of reflection ahead of us .. with thoughts - Hilary

Betsy Wuebker said...

Hi Hilary - I am glad one Englishman, Rick Rescorla, was on duty as head of security for Morgan Stanley on that fateful day. Rescorla, of your beloved Cornwall, had previously distinguished himself in service of our country in Vietnam, and the movie "We Were Soldiers Once" was inspired by him. 9-11 survivor lore has it that his booming voice was heard in the stairwell, belting out "Men of Cornwall, stop your dreaming, can't you see their spearpoints gleaming? see their warriors' pennant streaming to this battlefield...Stand and never yield." After all but 3 of the 2700 Morgan Stanley personnel were evacuated, Rescorla re-entered WTC2.

Patricia said...

I am working on being still today and remembering. I notice that a number of folks have sent posts about 9/11 and getting a long. Then on Saturday morning, I heard a woman who lost her husband on that terrible day say that it was a private day for her about her loss and not about going back and back, but that she needed to celebrate the forward motion she has made in 10 years - for her there seemed to be only more "us vs them" and meanness going on - as if 9/11 opened a door of hate and verbal attacks - suspicion and no compromise...
...then there is Congress not getting health benefits to the first responders - until they are dead and their families are bankrupt..
I just thought silence was good and maybe forgiveness
Liked your post very much, thank you for sharing

Journaling Woman said...

It is a definitely a time of remembrance and reflection.

More than Americans were killed on 9-11. This fact draws the world together. And I hope we won't forget.

Mason Canyon said...

Hilary, a very moving and beautiful tribute. If only we could all be one nation no matter what country we are living in.

Glad you were able to spent a peaceful afternoon with your mother. Hope she continues to rest well.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress
Freelance Editing By Mason

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betsy .. you reminded me about Rick Rescorla of my beloved Cornwall - as you so rightly describe him.

I was listening to the service yesterday and they must have mentioned him .. but it's not always easy to concentrate all the time when I'm with my mother.

Amazing to think that all but 3 of the 2,700 personnel from Morgan Stanley were evacuated and Rescorla went above and beyond his duty at the end.

I'd forgotten to mention also that there was a "Little Ships Rescue" from the tip of Manhattan across to Staten Island .. as happened in WW2 and as posted at the end of May - "Memorial Day, Memories and recognition ..". The call went out across the waters to all the boats of all sizes in the harbours at NY at that time.

Wonderful to see you here Betsy - thank you for your excellent comment .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. good to see you - yes it's a time of peace and I too have seen lots of 9/11 posts.

People have reacted differently to their loss .. and I have to say - the going forward is important, while never forgetting those who died, particularly near and dear.

We have to have compassion for all don't we, and the peace and the tolerance that the youth of all races expressed in Songs of Praise was just lovely to see.

Lovely to see you here .. have a blessed week - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa - many thanks .. as you say any destruction kills people from all parts of the world .. and we are all human .. the loss of a loved one is particularly challenging. I too hope we don't forget, but hope we can overcome the prejudices of life.

@ Mason - thank you - you're so right if only we could be one nation, one family, one community respecting each other for who we are - human beings.

Good to see you Teresa and Mason .. many thanks for your comments - Hilary

Jarmara Falconer said...

I think we all should do our family history before we pass judgement on being English. My family history tells me in 250 years I'm English and Yorkshire by bloodline on both parents, grandparent and great grandparent lines until I can take it any further back who can say :-)

Thank you for an interesting posting... Best wishes to you and your mum. My mum is doing well at the moment.

BK said...

With the advent of technology, we have indeed becoming (almost) one. And it is thus even more important that we focus on the similarities than on the differences. With similarities, we share, with differences, we are divided.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jarmara .. that does sound like a good idea .. I suspect I'm mainly English .. and we have records going back to the 1700s certainly on my father's side ..

Your family history sounds as though it would be very interesting to follow back .. your early ancestors - I wonder where they came from?

Glad you enjoyed it .. thanks re my Ma - I hope you have many happy days with your mother and shopping trips too!!

@ BK .. that's a very good point .. with similarities: we share; with differences: we are divided .. too true.

Thanks Jarmara and BK - so nice to see you here .. have good weeks - Hilary

L'Aussie said...

Hi Hilary. We're all part of the family of man. These days borders mean very little. It is my joy to travel the world and find most everyone is the same. There's bad apples in every bunch unfortunately but I've met very few.

Loved your thoughtful post. 10 Aussies died in the towers and we had remembrances for them as well as for everyone else. Aussies are not inward looking, they're very outward looking.

I wrote/posted a story on my L'Aussie blog today in remembrance of 9/11 if you would like to read it.

Denise

Holly Ruggiero said...

The pictures were a tiny bit too small for me to see. 9/11 was/is such a difficult day in so many ways. I like the quote from Defoe about who we are/were and will be.

T.O. Geezer aka ~Ron said...

Hi Hilary, thanks for the great history lesson. I always learn something new when I read your blog. Who said old dogs can't learn new tricks? :-)

God bless and have a nice week

~Ron

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Denise .. aren't we just all one big happy family - and you must see a great deal on all your travels - even bad apples can turn sweet and good.

Someone from every continent certainly must be counted in the final toll, and many countries - though not all.

You wrote an amazingly heart rending story for 9/11 on your blog and I highly recommend everyone to pop over to have a read:

http://laussieswritingblog.blogspot.com/

Good to tie up again .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Holly - I couldn't think what you were referring to - but just realised! I'm not very good with fiddling around with photos & left the compendium as I found from Wikipedia .. I did put up the list, at least!!

The Defoe poem rang true for me - and looked at 9/11 from a different perspective .. glad you thought so too ..

@ Ron (aka the Old Geezer) .. pleasure - always delighted if I can entertain the old boy!!?? and if you learn new tricks too - well I'm not complaining - not sure about Mrs Geezer?

It's good to see you both again and back from your breaks - cheers Holly and Ron .. all the best for the week ahead - Hilary

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful post, Hilary. :)

It's such a sad time in our (America's) history. We have to remember hatred was the root of the destruction. We must learn to be more accepting of other cultures.

Madeleine said...

Isn't it fascinating. All those who think they are pure British/ English actually have ancestors from all over the globe. I watched Bettany Hughes' 7 Ages of Britain and realised what a diverse gene pool we all come from. Great post. :O)

The Old Silly said...

Excellent post, as usual, but this ...

".... today – embrace and encourage all peoples and their differences ... let the 21st century have hope."

Hallelujah and amen, sister Hilary!

Marvin D Wilson

Shirley Wells said...

What a wonderful post, Hilary. I especially love "let the 21st century have hope". We must all do our bit to make it so.

Loved the "mixed bag" pictures and, yes, I recognised most of them.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sharon - many thanks .. it's interesting to know Services were held around the UK, as well as the Grosvenor Square one I mentioned - then too Diane (L'Aussie) mentioned they lost 10 Australians, and another blogger mentioned the Service on the Canadian/North American (north-west somewhere) border .. it affected so many families around the world.

As you say we must learn to be more accepting of other cultures ..

@ Madeleine .. it is fascinating - "us English" come from everywhere.

I can't remember watching Bettany Hughes' tv programme - that was the one I missed: I took notes of all the others. Next time I shall ensure I see it!

@ Marvin - welcome back! Thanks so much .. all my own words too ..

.. and I've never had "Hallelujah and amen, sister Hilary" said to me before!! makes me chuckle as well as feel rather pleased at the complement.

Cheers Sharon, Madeleine and Marvin - thanks so much for coming by - have good weeks .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shirley .. good to see you - and thank you re the words "let the 21st century have hope" ..

I was pleasantly surprised to see it posted on Wiki under Englishman .. so thought good pic - and then had to work out if I could name most of them .. nearly.

Cheers have a good evening and hope the gale doesn't take its toll on you up there .. Hilary

The Golden Eagle said...

Interesting post! Thanks for the history.

It is important to accept all kinds of people and their differences--particularly in times like these when even just a few individuals can have such an enormous impact.

Karen Lange said...

Oh my, that is a mixed bag! It is interesting to think where our forefathers came from, and that they all had some linkage here. I'm told I have Welsh roots on my father's side. It really is a small world.

Thanks for your lovely thoughts on 9/11.

Have a wonderful week,
Karen :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Golden Eagle - many thanks .. you're so right .. essential that we are aware of everyone's differences and respect them.

@ Karen - well there you go - Welsh roots! We might even be connected .. who knows .. ?!

I'm glad you appreciated the post -

Thanks Golden Eagle and Karen .. have good weeks ..Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

Love this part of the poem, and so true:

Fate jumbled them together – God knows how!
What’er they were – they’re true born English now.

New York City is an amazing place for diversity. 42 languages in the Queens Public library? I'm not surprised! I grew up in Queens.

Kittie Howard said...

This is a fantastic post, Hilary. Thanks! I bookmarked it.

I gave you a shout-out on my post today. Thank you for following me. I hope to visit more after I get some stuff done around the house.

Susan Scheid said...

A beautiful piece, Hilary. With regard to September 11, one of the images that has stayed with me since that day is that of English men and women standing in front of Big Ben, observing a moment of silence, in remembrance, a beautiful tradition that I believe began in remembrance of those lost in the Great War. I will never forget that gesture of caring and respect.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I knew some of them! Nice they are creating a memorial there as well

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Theresa - I just loved the poem and seems to so well sum up our Englishness even today.

NYC and London and together with many other cities around the world are full of a complete ethnic mix. I went to our library yesterday and there were about 9 languages listed. Growing up in Queens must have been interesting ... I would expect you could find lots of stories there ..

@ Kittie - thanks so much and for the shout out - I'll be over! It'll be good to see you when you can get here ..

@ Susan - I didn't know that about some of our countrymen standing in support on 9/11 in front of Big Ben - I was travelling and not at home as it unfolded.

It sounds as though you're right .. that the simple acknowledgement of the great loss would have been remembered that way after the Great War - the standing quietly by Big Ben. Interesting .. I'll have to try and find out.

I can understand you never forgetting that gesture of caring and respect ... an excellent way of letting us know about it - thank you.

@ Alex .. well done! Our memorial is finished .. I'll get some pictures up sometime soon: It's small and very British.

Thanks Theresa, Kittie, Susan and Alex - lovely to see you - Hilary

juliet said...

What an interesting post. Here in NZ we talk a lot about what makes a New Zealander. My grandparents came from England and Ireland so I feel my British blood is very much part of me and who I am. The Defoe poem is fascinating - I haven't come across it before.

Amanda Trought said...

Hi Hilary, hope all is well, this was a really informative post, I managed to recognise most of them. Definitely a time for reflection. It was great for me to see my son taking an interest at 15 as there is so much that can wash over them and take their attention away. Stay blessed and give your mum a big hug from me!. Amandax

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - many thanks - yes what does make a New Zealander .. many nations - especially as NZ was 'found' before Australia by Captain Cook.

Good that you know a little about your historical roots - one day perhaps you'll have a little dig around for more information?

When I saw the Defoe poem I just thought that's it for 9/11 .. different, yet linked.

@ Amanda - thank you for your thoughts re my mother .. we're fine. Well done for recognising some of the English .. I certainly couldn't name them all - but once I'd realised who they were .. they seemed to fit in .. not sure about Beckham - but so be it!

Perhaps your son could try and name a few? It is good that he's taking an interest in what's going on in the world or happened in recent years that affect us all.

Good to see you both - Juliet and Amanda .. have good weeks - Hilary

Rebecca Kiel said...

Fantastic post. Looking forward to reading more from you.

Manzanita said...

I think of how dull my world would be had I never discovered your blog. With your varied interests, I always learn something and who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks.
Thank you, Hilary, for another meaningful post.
Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

Manzanita said...

I just realized Old Geezer Ron and I said the same thing and I hadn't read his comment or any comments yet. Weird, huh? Two old Geezers should think alike?????Manzanita@Wannabuyaduck

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rebecca - good to meet you and I emailed as I can't access your comment box ...

@ Manzanita - many many thanks - that's so kind .. I enjoy the posting .. and like the old dog this one here learns new tricks too ...

... and also Old Geezer Ron! .. strange coming up with the same saying - shows how phrases travel the world too - with people!

Weird = yes! - but true ... Cheers Hilary

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,
Apologies for arriving rather late in responding to yet another fascinating, informative and profound posting. And, my goodness, I recognised almost all of those "English Peoples" in your list. By the time I got to Damon Albarn, it was a just a 'Blur' to me .
And that awful day, just over ten years ago, displayed the epitome of evil and the selfless acts of bravery.
In peace and kind wishes, Gary

Friko said...

I didn't know Defoe had such a well-developed sense of humour.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gary .. no worries I rock and roll around when I can!! Glad you enjoyed the collage of peoples ... Damon Albarn was I the one I had no clue about - even the name didn't Blur me!!

It was a shocking day to say the least ..

@ Friko - I knew his name - but I've learnt a little about him doing this blog post - it is a fun poem though .. wonder what one today would say ...?

Cheers Gary and Friko ... lovely seeing you .. Hilary

~Sia McKye~ said...

Good post Hilary. Sorry it took me so long to get here and enjoy it. The United States, like England before it, is a conglomeration of people and nations and tongues. There are few *pure bred* anyone today. We're all parts of many. We need to remember that...

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia - no worries .. just a delight to see you came over .. just hope you start feeling a lot better soon and recover completely.

Who knows exactly who our roots are - we are all parts of many, as you say .. and most definitely we need to remember and learn from the peoples we don't know .. greater understanding all round.

Thanks - enjoy the rest of the week .. Hilary

Clarissa Draper said...

I just figured out an English project I want to work on with my son... Loved the post today, I knew a lot of those in the picture at the bottom. Such a cultural history.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Clarissa .. that's good news - if I can help let me know!

They're a good mix that is for sure .. and everywhere has such a cultural history now and it's getting more diverse.

Good to see you - thanks .. Hilary

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Someone said that 9/11 is our generation's Pearl Harbor. I recall the way my parents and grandparents talked about that event.

My parents were engaged that fateful day. Unlike some couples, they chose to wait until after the war to marry.

Does our generation get "that look" in their eyes when 9/11 is mentioned? I know I do, and I've seen it in the eyes of others.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - over here our take on things is definitely the same but from a very different viewpoint .. we were totally involved in Europe having had the First World War 25 years previously.

There was a lot of loss of life during the Wars and their effects are very long lasting.

War and unnecessary deaths of any sort are just too sad - I sincerely hope we can learn some lessons and have a greater understanding of all men.

Interesting perspective you bring up .. how does each generation look at the world after a catastrophe/ life changing event such as Pearl Harbour/ War, Berlin Wall/ 9/11 etc .. I don't know. It's an enormous subject to explore ...

Thanks Susan .. great thoughts you've raised here - Hilary

Pk Hrezo said...

A very important message! There will always be war. Always.
But that doesn't mean we can't have hope. Hope is what keeps men alive.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi PK .. thanks for commenting here - unfortunately yes I think there will always be war - at least it's not obviously going away.

Man must have hope however, we allow the new into our lives .. there must be hope for them and their future.

We just need to improve considerably in our care and consideration for others ..

Hope is essential to life - thanks .. great comment - Hilary

bluepurpleandscarlett said...

Oh this was so great! I love the Defoe poem-I will use this with my kids, so much to learn from it. I confess I could only identify 5 of the pictures...I should know more than that. I also must confess that after watching an episode of MI-5 recently via Netflix, I just now figured out that you pronounce Grosvenor square as "grover". Where have I been? :)
~Scarlett

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Scarlett - when I read it - I thought this is just what I needed for a 9/11 blog post that would be different.

Excellent .. it does tell the story succinctly of the English to the 1600s .. it'd be good to write a poem covering the next 400 years .. but it'll be fun to hear what your kids say!!

Pronunciation .. now that's another matter .. !!?? As you found out ..yes Grosvenor - has a quiet's'.

I wrote a post on Fish and Chips - that covers this point .. amongst other things ..
http://positiveletters.blogspot.com/2010/07/could-this-be-sitcom-or-break-out.html

Hope you enjoy it!!

Cheers - good luck with your exhibition .. and enjoy the weekend .. Hilary

Retired Knitter said...

The English? They are friends. Thankfully the Atlantic Ocean doesn't ever get in the way.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elaine .. absolutely .. thankfully that huge pond doesn't stop us being similar in all we do.

Hope all is well - have appreciated reading all your posts on your care-giving role in life. Look after yourself - Hilary