Taken from ‘View from the House’: 12th June 2014, Sutton Coldfield Observer
THE Commemorations of the D Day landing 70 years ago were more than a commemoration of an event but also of human spirit.
Stated to be the largest single invasion force in history, operation ‘Overlord’ constituted not only the machinery of war; aircraft, ships and tanks but above all manpower. Men at arms; each an individual following orders with their own drive, determination and no doubt, fear.
Comradeship forged when under fire and through privation has proved itself enduring over the decades. It cannot be illustrated more clearly than through the actions of Mr Bernard Jordan, a 90 year old Veteran of the Royal Navy.
Having been told that he could not attend the commemorations by the staff at the nursing home where he lives in Hove (apparently due to lack of transport) he made his own way, telling no one, by joining a coach to Ouistreham. Hurrah!
The pluck and courage of our own local veterans was reported on national television with an interview of Sim Mayou, also a Royal Navy Veteran. Known to most through his family’s hardware business and council representation in Pelsall, he had an eventful time serving on mine sweepers during the war.
Though this, the 70th anniversary of the D Day landings, is likely to be the last of the official events with the disbanding of the Normandy Veterans Association later this year, events and those involved will not be forgotten.
The Royal British Legion continues to be the conscience of the nation and the commemorations they organise continue to be the main point of reference for those of us who have not served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. For those who have not already visited the National Memorial Centre at Alrewas, a visit should not be put off. As its name implies it is the national centre for commemoration of the Armed Forces and military conflicts since the Second World War. We shall not forget.
Lest we (politicians) forget.
The local and European elections held two weeks ago should serve as a wake-up call to all politicians of all parties. The people of Britain spoke, and quite loudly, of their concerns for this country and of those who seek to manage our country’s affairs. It reminded me of a poem by Chesterton, The Secret People.
A poem of our passage through history, of suffering and sacrifice but to what effect?
The poem opens with the line ‘Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget; for we are the people of England that never have spoken yet.’ It ends with ‘It maybe we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest, God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best. But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet. Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.’