Throughout the celebrations of the 75th Anniversary of VE Day last Friday I enjoyed many poignant moments, some with sadness, many with pride and others with laughter. To make sure my choice of descriptive word is the right one, I checked out Poignant with my Thesaurus and it came up with over a dozen alternatives. They all fit the bill in various ways because as the day progressed, programmes and content varied. Some of the related synonyms included; Moving, Emotional, Touching, Distressing, Sad, Upsetting, Tender, Agonising, Nostalgic, Heartrending and Heart Breaking. Well that just about says it all really.
The Second World War was a tremendously difficult time for hundreds of millions of people all over the world and whilst VE day was celebrated with rejoicing and jubilation in Europe, it was short lived for some who were then reassigned or redeployed to the far-east as the war with Japan continued for a few more months.
It was fascinating to watch old news reels and home movie clips of how the people in Europe celebrated the ending of 6 years of hostilities. Everyone was ecstatically partying with dancing, singing, laughter and merriment; truly they were sights to behold and some I will never forget.
For everyone who was rejoicing, in spite of rationing, there suddenly seemed to be plenty sandwiches, pies and cakes on the tables of the street parties that took place the length and breadth of most countries that were featured. Many of the children looked somewhat bewildered, probably because they had never seen so much food before. That too would be very short lived as rationing continued for many years after 1945 but it was certainly the right way to celebrate such an incredibly important and significant day.
A few days later, reality came back into play and everyone took up the challenge and associated workload of getting the economy of their nations back on track as soon as they could, which took many years for some and decades for others.
Eventually the war years became a distant memory for a lot of people and a bit later was not within living memory for a lot more. The Rock ’n’ Roll Fifties and Roaring Sixties were significant decades for the War Babies and Baby Boomers, when lifestyles then and thereafter, bore no comparison to life during WW2.
Life continued for another 50 years with very few crises for the vast majority of the global population, until the start of 2020, a new decade and potentially a bombshell of a new problem.
I have used the word ‘potentially’ because so much is still unknown about Covid-19 and the Coronavirus. There is still plenty of time for it to end up being (only) a disaster situation and not a fully-blown global wipe-out-of-populations pandemic. Hopefully, the world’s scientists will discover the solution we are all waiting for but until they do and it has been tested over time, nobody and I mean nobody, knows for sure what to expect.
In the meantime, whilst almost everyone is unhappy about the lockdown and social distancing and all of the other measures we are having to endure, I did realise by the end of the VE Day celebrations, that so far I have only been inconvenienced for less than 2 months. My mother and father and other relatives who have now mostly passed away, were inconvenienced for SIX YEARS and I don’t remember them ever really complaining much about it.
I am trying to learn from them and adopting their winning attitude because in spite of WW2, I had a wonderful childhood and upbringing and life has been good. This does not just apply to myself. All of my living relatives and friends who are in the same age range and had similar experiences when they were kids, are in a comparable situation. Childhoods were quite hard, with rationing we didn’t have a lot but enjoyed lots of freedom and love, usually from parents who did everything they could to create a better life for their kids than they had to endure.
Whatever Covid-19 ends up throwing at us, I am guessing it won’t last 6 years or kill as many people as during WW2 and life will go on afterwards. At least I sincerely hope that is the case.
If it happens to create economic meltdown in the UK, I wonder if we will see the return of a top rate of 83% for British taxpayers as happened in the mid-1960s, when the wealthiest among them paid a 15% super-tax on top of that, pushing taxes as high as 98%. Governments globally are going to have to stimulate their economies and recover economic growth somehow and taxes always play a major role one way or another.
On that thoughtful note I wish everyone a safe and virus free future and urge you to take care.
JHL MBE SSL Co. Chairman