"As things change, so they remain the same". There's another one. Furtive looks around the bar.
It is National Anniversary time in the UK - indeed almost everywhere - to mark the end of World War 2. Overlook the why's and wherefores and we could be looking forward to WW3.
May the 8th marks 70 years since Winston Churchill famously declared victory
I was chatting to my very lovely friend the 'Southern Gal' last evening. She had discovered some films (reconstructions and actuals) about WW1. She confessed having her eyes opened. She had previously given little thought to that 'War to End All Wars' of 100 years ago.
How many have?
How many today even know much about WW2?
Yet here we are at VE Day.
Victory in Europe.
Mike Cunningham was in telling of how it is recalled.
and for Germany, General Jodl signs!Some seventy years ago, come tomorrow, the second War to end all Wars came to an end, in Europe at least; the Far East portion lasted a little longer until the Japs saw sense with aces represented by two nuclear weapons back to back.
The evil genius which had been Hitler was dead, the Russians were in the suburbs of Berlin; the armoured columns of the Americans, the British and the Canadians were racing towards the Elbe. Most of the German Army was trying to go west, in order to surrender to the Americans or the British; anything to get away from the avenging ferocity which was the artillery and tank columns of the Russian Marshal Zhukov.
The war was ending, and it was almost as though Wagner’s Gotterdammerung was coming to reality. The promised Thousand Year Reich was slowly being pounded into the rubble which was all Germany’s cities had become; the adoring crowds at the Nazi ceremonies had somehow dissipated, the cheering was silenced long ago; and all that was left was the signing of the Surrender documents .
Our Navies had vanquished the submarines which nearly starved us into surrender; our aircraft had swept the skies clear of the formidable Luftwaffe. The death camps were being discovered and liberated. Our forefathers, nearly all now dead, had vanquished the best trained, the most formidable War Machine on the planet, and it was time to celebrate.
The young. Yes, we answer their questions with simple explanations. We expect our schools to teach them in far more depth later as they get older.I have a painting as a desktop on my computer, which I lifted from an Air Battle catalogue. and I was explaining to one of my grandsons about the brave boys and young men who flew bombing missions against Germany, whilst the fighter flyers of the German Luftwaffe were trying to kill them, and he asked me a very grown-up question; “Grandad, why?” The only answer which I could give to a seven-year-old boy was simple, “You see, the men who told those flyers to fight were really nasty people, and they had to be stopped!”Yes, our peoples sang, and yes, they danced; but the ground upon which the dancing took place was soggy with blood!As a reality check, just see what the younger generation believes why tomorrow was so very important.
One might optimistically expect our female dominated shooling system to give a warts and all account. There are plenty of texts for them to parrot. One might expect the usual drivel about nasty men always having wars and making woman suffer. But no. From the public's display of knowledge it would appear that barely anything is taught.
The war itself was in vivid colour, but the memories are now in fading gray.
Victory, what victory?
The generation that's clueless about VE Day:
Survey finds more than half of Britain's 18 to 25-year-olds do not know what it celebrates• 54 per cent did not know it celebrates the end of Second World War in Europe• May 8 will mark 70 years since Winston Churchill famously declared victory• Seven per cent thought it was Margaret Thatcher and four thought Tony Blair• Three-quarters of those asked underestimated tragic death toll of 60 millionIt marked the end of years of blood, sweat and tears – but most young people have no idea what VE Day is.With two days until the 70th anniversary, a survey found 54 per cent of Britons aged 18 to 25 did not know that Friday's VE Day celebrates the end of the Second World War in Europe.
Sad to say, no-one suggested that Kim Kardashian had anything to do with it. It could at least have given a laugh.And 38 per cent could not identify Winston Churchill as the prime minister who declared victory in Europe on May 8, 1945.Seven per cent believed it was former US president John F Kennedy, another 7 per cent said Margaret Thatcher and 4 per cent thought it was Tony Blair.
The Onepoll survey, commissioned by SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), the Armed Forces charity, questioned 1,000 young people about VE Day and the Second World War.Asked which country's invasion by Germany led Britain to declare war in 1939, 55 per cent were unable to identify Poland – and 4.5 per cent said it was the invasion of England.David Murray, chief executive of SSAFA, said:
'It is a real shame that so many of our young people do not have a basic level of knowledge of the Second World War.'Many of them probably have not-too-distant relatives who fought in what was by far the biggest world war we have seen, in terms of lives lost.'
Well, there's a thing.More than a third believed the first moon landing, Britain's entry into the European Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall had all happened before VE Day. !!! And nearly three-quarters drastically underestimated the death toll, unaware that 60 million died.Overall, women knew more than men on the details of the war and the poll revealed Scots to be most knowledgeable, while Londoners performed worst.
Mr Murray, who served for more than 30 years in the RAF, said: 'The nostalgic memory of VE Day is being played out across Britain and so it should be. As a nation we have a strong tradition of celebrating our Forces and we have much to be proud of.'Three days of commemorations will begin on Friday, when party leaders, royals, and veterans will gather for a day of remembrance at the Cenotaph in London.
I have no doubt at all that some schools will declare that such a celebration is 'divisive'. Despite the war itself being all too 'Inclusive'.At 3pm – the moment in 1945 that Churchill declared an end to war in Europe – there will be a two-minute silence across the country. Schools are being encouraged to hold events and observe the silence.
Some in the bars bemoan the awful ignorance of American yoof. Most seem to know barely anything that is not related to pop kulcha, drugs or sex. There are exceptions of course.On Friday evening, a chain of more than 100 beacons will be lit from Unst in the Shetlands to Lowestoft in Suffolk.And on Saturday communities are being encouraged to hold street parties while churches are being asked to ring their bells, at 11am as they did in 1945.A Forties-style concert that evening in Horse Guards Parade, behind Downing Street, will be shown on BBC1.At a service in Westminster Abbey on Sunday, the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be joined by veterans and their families, members of the Armed Forces and representatives of Allied nations.A parade will go from the abbey past the balcony of the Treasury building, where Churchill made his historic VE Day speech.
The Southern Gal is well informed but even she is now of a generation that needs - as she is finding - to rediscover the past so as to understand the present and the future.
But British yoof and in fact general yobbish population, are as ignorant as any kid on the streets of Baltimore.
Perhaps I am being harsh. Perhaps a tad jaundiced. But woe betide those who forget.
The ignorance of even the sons and daughters of Heroes will be visited upon the following generations.
Such matters as war and conflict often crop up when I get my sword out from under the bartop and give it a polish and a bit of a run on the whetstone.
Keep yours sharp and ready, like your mind, like I do. Remember. Even Southern ladies need to.
Drink deep of Grace and read up on your history.