With Memorial Day yesterday and VE Day earlier in the month in England, I wanted to write a short post about what that day means to me.
As we get on with our everyday lives I’m sure it rarely enters our minds that we have the opportunities and the ability to pursue life as we do because of those who fought and died on our behalf. I will readily admit I fall in to that category. But it is on these occasions that I sit and consider what this means in relation to the life I live.
Those of you who are regular readers and/or have been with me from the beginning of my blog, you will know that appreciation is something which is an extremely important aspect of my everyday life. It is my firm belief that even if it’s not every day, gratitude is a virtue that every so often we should stop, sit back and think about. Our lives are comprised of countless elements that we can consider blessings, including friends, family, a career, a home or just the ability to be able to function on a daily basis. The familiar phrase, ‘There’s always someone more fortunate and less fortunate than you’, whilst not dwelling on somebody else’s negative situation, is for me a truth.
In this instance, Memorial Day and VE Day lead us to be grateful for our freedom. That freedom enables us to make our own choices and decisions ranging from the simplistic, what to have for lunch to how we choose to treat others. Not everyone in the world lives in a place where those options are available.
In England we recently had the general elections where David Cameron of the Conservative Party was re-elected as Prime Minister. There was initial uproar at the outcome which caused people to protest in London. What really saddened me was this protest was not peaceful as it should have been.
That’s the beauty of life. We have the right to our opinions and have been given the opportunity to make ourselves heard which those who have gone before us have fought for. We have the ability to protest and to put forth our beliefs in that way.
In this ‘peaceful’ protest, there was violence and a World War II memorial was defaced. Absolutely mortified, I couldn’t help but feel a degree of shame about my British roots. To agree or disagree with certain beliefs and/or decisions is a gift that has been bestowed upon us, but taking advantage of the right to freedom of speech in such a way is absolutely dreadful.
So this year, not only has it been a time of contemplation and gratitude to those who have fought on my behalf, but it has also been a time to embrace the sadness of how recent events in my home country clearly demonstrate that for some, appreciation is not even a consideration.
Just as I did last Memorial Day, I end this post with thoughts of my Grandad who fought and struggled in the aftermath of World War II. Despite the recent events in London, we know and appreciate what a brave man he was and to his family, he will never be forgotten.