What a week!
As we sat on the terrace today enjoying a morning coffee we heard the sirens from town at 08:56 reminding us that this is exactly one week since the crash. This weekend, with a service for all victims in Warsaw today and the funeral of the President and first lady tomorrow in Krakow will see the end of Poland’s period of mourning and for all us ‘spectators’ pretty much the end of the ‘show’. Websites will get their colour back, as will TV programmes. The radio stations will revert back to Lady Gaga and other inappropriate music. Of course, as we all go about our normal lives we should still remember firstly those whose loved ones are still in Moscow and secondly all those for whom this tragedy is far more than a one week affair. Those whose families have been torn apart, those fatherless and motherless children, those who face the task of rebuilding the broken national administration, filling the gaps as best they can.
I think Tusk in particular has performed particularly well although I’m certain there are hundreds of others that have been doing exceptional work to struggle through this week. They look exhausted and who can blame them.
Watching the service now in Plac Piłsudksi really brings home the enormous scale of what has happened. In the past week we have seen various smaller acts being played out – the President, his wife, 30 coffins, another 34 coffins, a further 8 coffins – all deserving ceremonies at both ends of the flight, the drive through town, the non-stop candles and flowers at the palace (3,300 tons of them I heard so far). But today everything comes together. Once more Pl. Piłsudski sets itself up for a momentous and historic occasion.
It is truly heart-wrenching to see the photos of 96 victims, the row upon row of grieving families, the tens of thousands of others gathered around for this service of remembrance. The service started at 12:00 with more sirens and then a two minute silence and then the part where I find it the hardest not to cry, the reading out of the names and details of all the dead. They have been blessed with superb weather with skies so clear it is hard to believe there’s volcanic ash at 20,000ft. From what I’ve seen so far the service is as good as anyone could wish for.
But life does go on for those of us not directly affected and this means that, unfortunately, we have a family wedding today and so are not able to get out and join the crowds (unless we meet them on the roads). Tomorrow, M has her further education training, surprisingly still on despite tomorrow’s Wawel service. So, we shall have to make do with TV coverage but the images of all those families today will help us remember what this is all about.
That’s about it from the Warsaw end of Polandian. Our much stronger Krakow team are already on the case to bring you news of tomorrow’s activities so I expect this post to be a short-lived tribute to all the victims before the focus moves to the President, his wife and all those visiting superstars.
A whole week of mourning might seem like an awful long time but to put it in perspective, if you mourned night and day for the whole week it still amounts to less than two hours per victim!