/Love and laughter will return

Love and laughter will return

at this time of year that we celebrate the prominent battles, victories
and end of the Second World War in 1945. Last Thursday was the 75th
anniversary of VE Day, Victory in Europe Day, ending the war against
Nazi Germany.
While we celebrate apart this year, we are fighting
another world war – the COVID-19 disease that has infected roughly four
million people globally, killing close to 300,000. Those figures will be
much higher when all is said and done.
Few of us were alive or old
enough to remember what war in the 1940s was like. All we have is the
recorded history and some personal remembrances from the dwindling
number of those who lived it.
However, my feeling is that the fight
back then was more unified, more focused, more determined and less
partisan than the Covid-19 war today. Everyone seemed to work together
to get through the Second World War; end the fighting and killing and
get the world back to normal.
I don’t have that feeling about this
pandemic. There are no powerfully uniting cultural symbols for fighting
the enemy – no Rosie the Riveter, no soaring Churchillian oratory, no
Vera Lynn, the “Forces’ Sweetheart,” singing to comfort the troops.
we do have is the shocking partisan chaos in the U.S. and in Britain
the bravado incompetence of Boris Johnson, who came close to being a
dead victim of the coronavirus pandemic.
And, in Canada we have the
bland Justin Trudeau on TV daily announcing a new financial handout to
groups suffering financially by the pandemic. The financial assistance
obviously is needed, but would be nice if accompanied by some stirring
thoughts on how we’ll work together to beat this plague.
like Winston Churchill’s speech to the British House of Commons after
taking over the government from the weak-kneed Neville Chamberlain:
us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that,
if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years,
men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
So far it has not
been our finest hour. Shortages of personal protective equipment for
medical personnel and other frontline workers, plus other shortages and
unpreparedness that might have been avoided by paying attention to the
recommendations made by the SARS Commission 15 years ago.
Then there
are the nursing home deaths. The National Institute on Aging said last
week that 82 per cent of Canada’s COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term
settings. That is not just a national disgrace; it is a sign of
corruption in our society.
I’m not saying that Canada’s response to
the pandemic has been bad. We’ve done relatively well, but it certainly
has not been our finest hour.
Meanwhile, over in Britain the spirit
of Vera Lynn is alive and encouraging citizens to carry on the fight.
Not only is the spirit alive, so is the lady herself. She is 103 and
lives in the East Sussex village of Ditchling, roughly 85 kilometres
south of London.
She issued a statement for the 75th anniversary of
Victory in Europe Day, noting people will celebrate while being apart
because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, while people would be apart,
they should not lose hope.
“I hope that VE Day will remind us all
that hope remains even in the most difficult of times and that simple
acts of bravery and sacrifice still define our nation as the National
Health Service works so hard to care for us.”
“Most of all, I hope today serves as a reminder that however hard things get, we will meet again.”
was a reference to her famous Second World War song, We’ll Meet Again,
which struck a positive, emotional chord with soldiers, families and
Just as popular was her (There’ll Be Bluebirds Over) The
White Cliffs of Dover song, the 1942 war anthem promising better times
to come. Its message is worth repeating in these days of anxiety about
whether our world ever will be the same again.
There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow, just you wait and see
There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
Tomorrow, when the world is free