THURSDAY 25th JUNE 2020
I awoke at 3.30am to the beautiful sound of a blackbird singing in my garden. As the dawn chorus began this was followed by a white dove.
Of the two which had the best song ? The blackbird without a doubt.
Of the two which is the most pleasing to look at ? Marginally the white dove ?
Blackbird v White Dove ? Which is the best ? Impossible to pick one and that is a stupid question to ask. Both are special, both are life forms, both are important. Both have qualities of their own.
As part of my writing for MILTON DREAMS THE CITY THAT NEVER WAS I went yesterday to my local war memorial. These are the names recorded there:
1914 – 1918: Henry G Arber William Caldwell Douglas G Chadwick Harry Day Cyril Dickens Harry Goss John W Guntrip Francis W Gurney William H Hanton Walter james Edward H Keyte Frederick J King Edwin W Leonard Cecil Selby Lowndes Lawrence Meacher Stanley J Morris George S Palmer Walter W Perry George H Rose William J Shouler Albert Spring Arthur Stairs Herbert G Staniford James F Steene Thomas C Tooth Percy C Troughton John F Wallsgrove George West Benjamin W G Ward Eric H Markham
1939 – 1945: Richard E Ayres Frederick B Brown John Catterall William Calver Harry D Davis George J Essa Glyn Hankins John W Jones Albert E Knight Leonard C May Edgar C Mynard Alec Peackock David F Sinfield Leslie F Smith John P Whitley Donald Baker James S D Tompkins
2006 Afghanisan: Ross A C Nicholls
Names, many of them died more than one hundred years ago. When we celebrate Armistice Day we remember the dead as a group and not, I would suggest, as individuals. We did in the past but that is in the past.
From those names there are two who came from wealthy and influential families. Are they any more important than others ?
A while ago I visited the site of the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge. There on the memorial were names of those who had lost their lives. Names. That's all they were. I then visited the graves in the cemetery where the names became people. Honestly, tears filled my eyes as I looked at the ages of those who had dies. Seventeen - Eighteen - Nineteen. Some in their twenties but few older. The lives became real.
Yesterday another 154 people died from covid 19 and yet the government thinks we can move to normality on 4th July and reduce the social distancing rules. Never mind the 4th July it's all happening now !
Perhaps if each day the names of those who have lost their lives were published in the front page of every newspaper they may become real people and those sad individuals demanding pubs re-open can be put in their proper place.
Black Lives ? White Lives ? ALL LIVES. Just as you can pick out differences between the blackbird and the white dove it is impossible to say which is the better. so it is with lives. ALL LIVES MATTER. The lives on the war memorial still matter, the lives lost more than one hundred years ago at Vimy Ridge still matter. The lives lost yesterday matter. Boris Johnson and your motley crew of failing politicians open your eyes and start to recognise this fact.