Today was a beautiful day in Liverpool. I went for a walk. The sky was cloudless. The weather embracing. I explored a secondhand bookshop I had been meaning to go to and bought two books. Then, as I walked across the street away from the Liverpool Lime st. Station unto St. George’s Hall, I noticed something.
At first, I attributed my observation to the warm weather and people wanting to be outside. But then it dawned on me that the multitude of people sitting quietly outside the train stations steps, and along the steps of St. George’s Hall, were sitting for more than just the warmth in the air.
Across from the Liverpudlians was an electronic billboard, reminiscent of Time Square (for me), but lacking the typical movie advertisement and product placement I had learned to expect. Instead of its typical marketing pitch, it had words that did not change. They read,
with the faces of mostly men, smiling, grinning, content with the frozen imprint of time, accompanied by “25” and the dates 1989-2014.
It became clear that the men, women, and children sitting on the steps about me sat not because of the sun, but because of what had happened 25 years prior to this day.
I stood, reached for my camera, then pulled away. At 3:00 p.m., or moments after, bells rang in the distance. The silence was only broken by the bustling wheels of traffic, the normal sounds of birds, but nothing else. Unlike other days, and even rainy ones, the silence was a mournful one, a nostalgic one, a silence that spoke for itself.
As the bells rang, from what seemed to be far off, everyone stood. Silent for moments, then a horn from a bus or truck gently rippled through the air, and then claps followed. Not the claps your hear from the praise to a performance or the end of a speech, but a clap of memory.
It was strange, to be there, in such a moment. Strange because even in my ignorance, I understood what was felt. I understood that 25 years ago, something happened that had touched the soul of a city.
I asked a man, just passing, what had happened 25 years ago. He explained.
I thanked him, and continued my walk.
No home of people is without history. No place is without remembrance.
And we can all feel it.