I was born in the Second World War. Thankfully, my own father, despite serving in various places abroad, returned safely and our family enjoyed relatively untrammelled circumstances thereafter. Many didn't of course, indeed many millions from different nations never enjoyed a future at all.
After hearing a piece on television I went outside just before 1100 hours. Everything was silent, which didn't surprise me given the distance even the nearest church is located from the house. It would have been nice to have heard some token recognition, but perhaps the silence provided an even greater and more poignant. contribution than ever the tolling of a bell could do. It was warm and sunny and I looked up at the sky, threaded with occasional cloud, and reflected on what the last seventy years had brought myself. Peace, an ability to travel widely, circumstances that ensured I have never been displaced, an opportunity to be involved in an all absorbing hobby and job..........much to be grateful for. Conflicts elsewhere most certainly , but none that have drastically affected domestic circumstances again in the UK. Sadly those conflicts still remain in too many places elsewhere and replicate upon others the losses and misery the UK had experienced. A task remains to strive to achieve for others what we have enjoyed over these intervening years. Whilst we can never influence natural events, we should work even harder to ensure tolerance and understanding pervades everything and avoids completely the senseless activities which result in those affected being denied the opportunity to realise their own potential.
As I returned inside a Skylark sang above, a distant Lapwing called over the moor and a recently arrived Common Whitethroat rummaged around in some nettles. Timeless in many senses, but not for all. I felt both sad and privileged. We most certainly have a need to be grateful in so many respects. I was reminded of those immortal words below and was thankful to the many who had made this possible. Above all else it made me understand yet again what "the ultimate sacrifice" really entailed for so many. Whilst the significance of all this is sometimes difficult to impart to succeeding generations we must strive nonetheless to ensure our gratitude remains undiluted.
When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow
We gave our today.