London's dazzling tribute to Armistice Day shows the poetry of American women - CBS News

London's dazzling tribute to Armistice Day shows the poetry of American women - CBS News

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump are Participation in memorial events in France This weekend commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. On the other side of the London Canal, the night sky is illuminated to remember the British lost in the "War to End All Wars".

While a bugler played "The Last Post" on the wall of the Tower of London, a flame appeared, carried by one of the tower's Beefeater guardians. One flame became two, then three. Civilian volunteers set fire to the others until a huge stream of fire surrounded the old tower. Eventually, 10,000 lights filled the dry ditch to honor the hundreds of thousands who had died in a war that ended a century ago.

"The flames for me represent both the kind of spirit and the energy of all these lost men, as well as the hope for peace," said Tribute Designer Tom Piper. He said the flickering flames also represent something else: the fragile nature of peace.

"We have to secure our democracy right now," he said.

The memorial included a soundtrack of powerful poetry that speaks of love and death, written by the long-forgotten American Mary Borden, a wealthy Chicago associate who moved to England with her British husband.

When the First World War broke out, she turned to the front and worked in a field hospital. There she met a British officer who was to become her second husband and to whom she wrote the words that now complement the flames.

"Not least, my friend would falter, shame your clear brave spirit under the threat of the desolate end," says the poem.

"I'm so impressed with this woman, I'm so glad the world woke up a bit to her because too often female artists seem to disappear from the story," said Mira Calix, the sound artist who discovered Borden's poetry.

Well, like the one she's written about, Mary Borden is back in the story of that terrible time.

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