Sept. 12, 2001
It is a military ceremony that has been performed countless times at Buckingham Palace but rarely has the Changing of the Guard evoked so much emotion for American ex-patriates in London and transatlantic visitors alike.
Usually, several hundred onlookers, mostly foreign tourists, line the pavement in front of the palace to see the centuries-old tradition, which dates back to 1660.
But yesterday, in the absence of few other focal points in the capital for the American community to gather, thousands of Americans stood in front of the palace to mourn their fellow countrymen and women who died in the terrorist attack on their homeland.
For the first time, the Queen allowed her troops to play The Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States, during the ceremony in tribute to the many who died.
Standing beyond the palace railings, many of the 5,000 Americans broke down in tears and held their right hands over their heart in salute.
At first, the anthem, played by the band of the Coldstream Guards, was heard in a hushed silence and then slowly, one by one, many started singing until the words of The Star Spangled Banner echoed across Green Park.
As the final notes of the anthem faded away, the musical tribute from the British armed forces, so warmly welcomed by those present, was greeted by a round of applause before a two-minute silence was observed.
Traffic on The Mall, one of central London's busiest thoroughfares, came to a halt during the tribute.
* * *
June 3-5, 2017
It's been 16 years almost, and Britain's heartfelt and dignified tribute to the United States on Sept, 12, 2001, still makes me cry.
In this latest hour of heartbreak for our old friend -- and after our president's hard-hearted, classless and deeply stupid "tweetstorms" -- all Americans should be hanging their heads in shame right now.
Being that he was elected, and being that 37 percent of the people think this stupid orange lout can do no wrong, I fear Donald Trump does represent who we are as a country right now.
With "friends" like us, the Free World scarcely needs enemies. Never have I been so ashamed to be an American.