Here is a question for you all today. Once again - how quickly it comes round - it is the 1940's week-end in our little town this week-end. Today is market day but as soon as market finishes at 4pm the road down the side of the market square will be closed to traffic and the whole town will transform itself into 1940 for the week-end.
Already much of the preliminary work has been done. Most of the shop windows have been criss-crossed with sticky paper to make the glass more bomb-proof; red, white and blue bunting is festooned around the buildings; Union Jacks are out in force (not all of them the right way up). And as I drove home from our usual coffee morning I met lots of ancient army vehicles of one sort or another trundling their way up the High Street to park up until the square was ready for them to take up their positions. One or two couples were already wandering around the place dressed in forties clothes - the ladies in hats and dresses, lisle stockings, skirts below the knee and tightly permed hair; the men in army, navy or air force uniforms mostly - but never those of the lower ranks - and a smattering of WRVS, nurses and the like. People take to it in a big way - it is serious stuff for those who are interested.
As I left our coffee shop I asked the owner whether it was a good week-end for him. He said it would be one of the best in the year. Most cafes are serving things like spam and eggs and other dishes from those days.
So here is my question. Opinions are divided in the town about whether wartime is something we should celebrate. Millions around the world suffered, starved to death, were persecuted. Those of my age group and older can remember this vividly although, as my friend and I said this morning, our parents made sure that 'our' war as children was kept as free from worry and hardship as possible. Of course for children who were Jewish, or who lived in occupied countries, this was not the case at all. And here in the UK many cities were bombed and thousands died. So is it right that we should now cash in on this and hark back to it every year as though it is really something to celebrate? Or should we try to put it all behind us? I would like to know your views.
Yes, we did win the war, but at what cost.