I am writing this article for the Syston Town News just a couple of days before the 75th Anniversary of V.E Day, falling as it does on Friday 8th May. As we contemplate the anniversary that marks the end of six years of war in Europe between 1939 and 1945, it is right that we reflect on the sacrifices of the wartime generation in fighting for our country’s freedom, and the spirit that drove that generation to endure many hardships, and to whom we still owe so much.
That generation demonstrated a clear focus and determination to win; it came together in a national effort, supporting one another, and making sacrifices to achieve the right result; it exuded a strong sense of community; and it built a genuine pride in a shared endeavor, and in our country and the values which characterize it. While our country’s national effort to battle Coronavirus today may be very different from the battles of 75 years ago, the values and approach of that wartime generation continue to set an amazing example for us today, both as our nation fights coronavirus, but also more broadly for our society.
Many of us would, in more normal times, have commemorated V.E Day at one of the local, or national, events that had been planned to bring communities together to remember that dreadful conflict, and its end on 8th May 1945 – and I had been looking to taking part in the service of commemoration in Syston. Instead, we will all be at home, following the rules in place to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and save lives. But, while we may all be at home, we can still thank that wartime generation, and at the same time thank, and be grateful for, our amazing NHS and care workers, and the key workers keeping our country going at this current time. The same spirit that motivated that wartime generation, 75 years ago, can still motivate us today. I know that the current situation and restrictions entail huge sacrifice, and disruption to our daily lives and to our economy, and the frustrations and anxieties of the current time, but they are working – we have seen a slowing down in the number and rate of infections and transmissions, and by continuing to follow the rules, we have all played an important part in protecting our and helping save lives.
As I have said many times on the television and radio in recent weeks, and as the example of that wartime generation shows, when our great nation comes together, and works together in a common endeavor, we are unbeatable. I am confident we will beat this disease, and we will beat it together. I hope that you all continue to keep well, and wish everyone in Syston a very happy V.E Day Bank Holiday weekend.