Most of today (six hours of it) was spent in my office, looking out at the wildflower patch and researching the men of Epsom who died in 1917. This was as a result of the Great War and not just in general. In fact, I managed to complete 1917 and started on 1918. Then I stopped.
It was a strange day because it was VE Day, an occasion rarely celebrated. Today there were a few things organised. A lot of people were saying how we never celebrate VE Day and wondered why there was such a fuss about it this year when we couldn’t do much. (To be completely accurate, the 50th Anniversary was celebrated back in 1995.)
People were organising street parties that were supposed to be socially distanced. From various photos I saw of street parties around the country, they didn’t. There was no street party in our street. There was, however, a couple of flags.
For some reason, one house down our street, thought it was England alone that defeated the Nazis. This must be so, because next to a Union Flag they had hoisted a flag of St George to not flap in the non-existent breeze. I think that’s very odd and somewhat idiotic.
As I walked into town in the morning for my regular Friday bout of queuing…
…I was struck by the number of suddenly patriotic houses brandishing the Union Flag. Bunting of little flags across lintels, like so much mistletoe, welcomed visitors that were advised to never arrive. (There was also a massive Australian flag just beyond the Nelson Arms.)
The bunting, especially, I felt should have been many different flags. But, most of all, I think the flags, if anything, should have been the EU flag. After all, the EU was created after the successful defeat of the fascists and a hope for a longer lasting peace than the one after the Great War.
It seems that a lot of British people seem somewhat confused by the term World War. Let me explain to the unknowledgeable: Quite a few other countries were involved in the fight for freedom. Quite a few other countries lost lives and fought battles in order to get us the life we live now. Well, apart from the plaque, that is.
For further clarity, here’s an alphabetical list of the Good Guys team: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, France, Greece, India, Luxembourg, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States and Yugoslavia.
I hadn’t realised that China took part but then, they never really liked the Japanese after the whole invasion thing. This was never more beautifully portrayed than in Rookie Agent Rouge. (It still rankles that Netflix took Rookie Agent Rouge off their list before I reached the end of the series.)
Following Pearl Harbour, the Chinese, strong allies of the US at the time because the US liked them back then, decided to help out in the War in the Pacific.
(How things change. The Japanese bomb an American naval base and the Chinese leap to the American’s defence. Over 75 years later a strain of virus is said to originate in China and the Americans start attacking the Chinese. I guess that’s what happens when you let the evil back in.)
The heavy burden of responsibility for winning the Second World War must sit heavy on the shoulders of the nationalists in this country for they must let everyone know at every opportunity just how amazing we were back then. The so-called Blitz Spirit lives on in them all. It would seem.
Not as heavy, though, as my full trolley of weekend provisions. As I wheeled it back from Waitrose, various fluttering flags gave me the will to keep going.
The Blitz Spirit gave me the strength.