Today, May 8th was a bank holiday to celebrate the end of war in Europe, 75 years ago. As we are in lockdown it was a very different day to what we had expected. Our little town had a lovely day planned with a craft market, a big street party in the centre of town and moments to remember the fallen. Instead, we had quiet celebrations at home. Its been such a warm and sunny day today and it was sad to think of what could have been so special, especially given the age of our veterans from World War 2.
I was initially hesitant in decorating our house. Brexit has meant that our Union Jack seems to have been highjacked by a politics I don’t agree with. However I carefully thought about what today meant to me and its a personal link to the story behind the old photos album I found at my parents’ house which had belonged to my Gramps. I wrote about the album here and some of the stories I discovered https://seasidesparkles.net/2018/04/16/a-world-war-2-photo-album/ I wanted to fly the flag to honour and remember the pilots of Squadron 609, pilots of all nationalities, united by a desire to defeat Nazism.
The window became part of my son’s home learning this week, we chose some of the old photos to first look at and discuss and then printed them for our display. He then drew the spitfires and brought some of his fighter planes down from his bedroom. Hidden in the flower box is one of the ceramic poppies from the Tower of London’s 2014 installation. The large Union Jack has been hidden away since the Olympics, its actually a scarf with a tiger print. I’m not sure why I ever chose it but its been a great flag on a few occasions now, whilst the bunting is part of my country chic accessories! With lockdown, I had to make do and adapt the resources I had at home, a little bit of the spirit of the 1940s in 2020.
Whilst we didn’t have the planned community events, we all found little ways to make today special respecting social distancing. There was a community singalong, I have no idea who set up the sound system but with the natural design of the bay, 1940s music could be heard across the town, We’ll meet again was surprisingly moving. Our neighbour dropped round cupcakes decorated with mini flags to all the local houses so we could celebrate ‘together.’
For me, today has not been a day of celebration but one to remember and respect the values and sacrifice of our grandparents and their generation who fought to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today.