As you go through life, you accumulate dates.
That’s dates in the diary, not blokes that you’re meeting for a drink – or even dried fruit that magically appears just before Christmas.
Dates. To begin with, there’s only really one date that matters – your birthday. And, depending on your persuasion, Christmas. But then more dates come along, that need to be remembered and acted on – other people’s birthdays, then your wedding anniversary, your kids’ birthdays, their kids’ birthdays. And inevitably the dates that people you were close to died.
Then there are the other dates – the ones you don’t celebrate, that probably no-one else really remembers. The date of the anniversary of your first marriage, the date your marriage ended, the date your husband said he was leaving.
And there’s the bigger picture – do you remember where you were the day Kennedy was assassinated? The Berlin Wall came down? Princess Diana died? Or 9/11?
Until scarcely a week goes by without there being an anniversary of some sort, something you have to remember, or something that you can’t forget.
And there are the dates we don’t know about yet – the date we might meet our next special someone, the date we will meet our maker. There are only 365 days in the year, generally speaking – so a 1 in 365 chance that today will be the day, sometime in the future. Which is a strange thought.
And tomorrow is a date that very many people remember. A date that we feel is so important to remember that we actually call it Remembrance Day.
It was also my Grandfather’s birthday – a man who served in both World Wars, first in the Royal Navy and then in the Merchant Navy. I always think of him. He died when I was five, but he lived with us so I have fond memories of him. He had the most enormous hands!! I can remember walking to the Post Office with him to collect his pension, and he would hold my hand when we crossed the road.
And it’s my birthday too! When I was younger I had mixed feelings about sharing my birthday with Remembrance Day. Why did everyone have to be sad on my birthday? Every year? Over time, you realise that the world doesn’t revolve around you, and that there’s space enough in 24 hours for both Remembering and celebrating.
This year, on Remembrance Day, I think it’s important that we remember that there has been peace in Europe for 74 years. And remember the reasons for that.
Lest we forget.
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