What can we call it, this clapping? Applause does not adequately describe it, the joyful nature of it, the surge of feeling that drives it.
It starts just before the hour, as though some cannot wait for 8 o’clock, with a scatter of hand claps, tuning up for the main event. That rhythmic compression of air between the palms is the simplest human expression of collective thanks, for those times when words would only be lost on the air. Each pair of hands is a soundbox, each double beat saying ‘thank-you, thank-you, thank-you…’
It swells from soft to loud. It ripples and grows as the rest of the orchestra joins in with whistles, wordless shouts, pots banged with spoons, all manner of noisemakers. People lean from their windows. Passers-by look up at the windowed gallery of faces as the wave breaks over their heads, drenching them with sound. The wash of feeling leaves them smiling in unison and they raise their hands to join in. Fireworks shoot and explode over rooftops but cannot dampen the joyful chorus that now fills every street, every town, every city. It echoes and rises in a crescendo of heartfelt agreement that this is the way of gratitude, this is the only way of voicing thanks to those unknown thousands who put themselves in harm’s way for us. Thank you.
Chair of the Hanover Residents Association