Metro

Old North Church honors Remembrance Day

Boston MA 11/10/19 After the post-service wreath laying in front of the Iraq-Afghanistan Memorial behind the church, Major Michael Court (cq), is given the Operation Service Medal, for his time in Iraq and Syria. The presentation is made by British Counsul General Harriet Cross (cq). The Rev. Stephen T. Ayres (cq), Vicar, is at right. Armistice Day - Remembrance Day - Veterans' Day are celebrated at Old North Church (Christ Church in the City of Boston). Ayres is preacher. The Rev. Eleanor Terry (cq), Associate Vicar, is celebrant. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 11OldNorth Reporter: Max Reyes
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
British Consul General Harriet Cross presented the Operation Service Medal to Major Michael Court as the Rev. Stephen Ayres watched.

Silence hung heavily over the pews of Old North Church on Sunday morning, as dozens stood motionless and reverent, many with red paper poppies pinned to their chests

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Old North Church hosted a Remembrance Day observation on Sunday.

Then bagpipes began to play.

The reedy sound of “Flowers of the Forest,” a traditional Scottish folk tune, pierced the quiet and echoed through the church.

Advertisement

The moment of silence and the historic ballad marked a local observance of a British tradition — Remembrance Sunday— which honors fallen service members on the second Sunday of each November.

Get Metro Headlines in your inbox:
The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

This year, Remembrance Sunday happened to fall on the day before Veterans Day, the federal holiday in the United States marking the anniversary of the armistice agreement that ended World War I.

The poppies have served as a symbol of military personnel killed in action for almost 100 years, inspired by the 1915 poem “In Flanders Fields,” by Canadian poet and soldier John McCrae.

The poem, which was read Sunday at the service inside Old North Church, describes the carnage of World War I and asks that the soldiers who lost their lives be remembered.

The Rev. Stephen Ayres spoke in an interview of the Remembrance Sunday tradition and its meaning.

Advertisement

“It’s important for us,” Ayres said. “It’s not a time to glorify war; it’s a time to sort of acknowledge the sacrifices that have taken place because of war.”

As parishioners began filing out of the church following Ayres’ sermon, the choir sang “God Save the Queen.”

Churchgoers then gathered outside in the chill November air for a wreath laying at a memorial to fallen service members. The memorial was made of fence posts connected by chains hung with blank dog tags. The wind periodically blew through the metal, causing the tags to ring out like chimes.

After the wreaths were laid, British Consul General Harriet Cross presented Major Michael Court of the Royal Army Medical Corps with a medal honoring his service in Iraq. Court is in Boston for a medical fellowship.

Court said he was grateful for the medal, and that the holiday offered an opportunity for reflection.

Advertisement

“Obviously, as a serving member, it’s an opportunity to cause you to reflect on all those who have come before us,” Court said, “and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to see the freedoms that we have.”

Boston MA 11/10/19 After the service wreaths are placed in front of the Iraq-Afghanistan Memorial, behind the church. With the wreaths are, from left, Major Michael Court (cq), British Counsul General Harriet Cross (cq), Rich Schofield (cq), president of the British Officers' Club of New England, and Keith Taylor (cq), of The Soldiers Fund (cq). Armistice Day - Remembrance Day - Veterans' Day are celebrated at Old North Church (Christ Church in the City of Boston). The Rev. Stephen T. Ayres (cq), Vicar, is preacher. The Rev. Eleanor Terry (cq), Associate Vicar, is celebrant. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: Reporter: Max Reyes
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Major Michael Court; British Consul General Harriet Cross; Rich Schofield, president of the British Officers' Club of New England; and Keith Taylor, of The Soldiers Fund, placed wreaths at the Iraq-Afghanistan Memorial.

Boston MA 11/10/19 The Rev. Stephen T. Ayres (cq), Vicar, delivers the sermon. Armistice Day - Remembrance Day - Veterans' Day are celebrated at Old North Church (Christ Church in the City of Boston). The Rev. Eleanor Terry (cq), Associate Vicar, is celebrant. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 11OldNorth Reporter: Max Reyes
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
The Rev. Stephen T. Ayres delivered Sunday’s sermon

Boston MA 11/10/19 Boston MA 11/10/19 After the post-service wreath laying in front of the Iraq-Afghanistan Memorial behind the church, Major Michael Court (cq), is given the Operation Service Medal, for his time in Iraq and Syria. Armistice Day - Remembrance Day - Veterans' Day are celebrated at Old North Church (Christ Church in the City of Boston). The Rev. Stephen T. Ayres (cq), Vicar, is preacher. The Rev. Eleanor Terry (cq), Associate Vicar, is celebrant. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff Topic: 11OldNorth Reporter: Max Reyes
Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Major Michael Court received the Operation Service Medal for his time in Iraq and Syria.

Max Reyes can be reached at max.reyes@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MaxJReyes.