I have a feeling the 75th anniversary of VE Day will be a day I’ll remember.
Rather than it being a big national celebration with organised local events centred around pubs, there were lots of little outdoor gatherings. Quiet ones of just family groups on front gardens rather than everyone all hidden away in our private spaces out back. There was also a surprising amount of bunting and union flags adorning the frontages of a good proportion of homes which was pleasing to see.
As the day went on various impromptu socially distant get-togethers formed including the one we joined on our neighbour’s front drive. There were about ten of us, each with our own chairs sitting in the afternoon sun with bottles of beer and glasses of wine and G&T.
We’ve only just started to recognise some of the near neighbours as a result of the weekly clap for carers and we spoke for the first time to a couple who’s house we see every day from our front window who we’ve never noticed before.
We wiled away a pleasant few hours getting to know each other properly for the first time, something that would have never happened if it weren’t for the lockdown. We now know their names, what they do, where they’re from originally and other random details that will make it easier to connect next time we meet.
At 9pm the Queen broadcast to the nation at precisely the same time her father King George VI did 75 years ago when he announced the end of war in Europe. This was followed by an appropriately understated rendition of Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again – the wartime anthem which has extra poignancy right now.
The low-key, impromptu nature of the day gave more time to properly reflect on what the 75th anniversary should really all about.
Time to think about what life would have been like during the war years while we fight our own silent enemy and experience this short and sharp curtailment of our own freedom.
Just four months ago I used to take that freedom for granted. It was there for me to use and how and when I wanted. Not anymore, not ever again.