Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of VE Day or Victory in Europe Day, the day when the second world war was officially over in Europe.
There are lots of celebrations happening including over 200 beacons being lit, concerts and memorial services. Events are happening both locally, nationally and internationally.
It must have been an amazing day, 70 years ago, when the end of the war was declared. So many millions of people had died and suffered during this war. So many people had lost everything – families, homes, countries.
As much as the celebration of the end of the war was great, it was great because what had come before it was so terrible.
It made me think that I hope I never live through anything that is still commemorated generations into the future.
There is an old Chinese saying – ‘may you live in interesting times’. on first appearances this could seem like a nice blessing to someone, but it is actually meant as a negative thing. Interesting times are at best stressful and at worst lethal.
So my wish for you – today – is that you live in boring times, complacent times, times of prosperity and good will.
p.s. if you want to read an amzing, funny book which has most certainly informed my opinion on this subject, read interesting times by Terry Pratchett (but read the colour of magic first)
DULCE ET DECORUM EST
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST are the first words of a Latin saying (taken from an ode by Horace). The words were widely understood and often quoted at the start of the First World War. They mean “It is sweet and right.” The full saying ends the poem: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – it is sweet and right to die for your country. In other words, it is a wonderful and great honour to fight and die for your country.