As Winston Churchill stated to the world in his speech marking the end of the Second World War in Europe: “almost the whole world was combined against the evil-doers”. He went on to the House of Commons to make a short address and moved that the House attend St Margaret's Church, Westminster, to give thanks.
Seventy-five years on I am delighted that we are all stilling commemorating those who gave their lives to defend our freedoms. Whilst COVID-19 meant that we could not pour into the streets, the virus failed to dampen spirits.
A striking tribute was created in Llanrwst – the message on the green (VE 75) clearly visible from the sky and captured for ever by camera; the Last Post was heard on Victoria Street, Llandudno; and Chapel Street, Conwy, saw residents singing on their doorsteps.
Across the constituency we were all able to mark the anniversary in some way. The Queen was right to state in her address that “our streets are not empty, they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other”. As the Second World War goes to show, we can get through an international calamity by pulling together as a community.
The love so many of us have for each-other is clear when considering that there are individuals from Penmachno to Penmaenmawr volunteering to help keep neighbours and the vulnerable safe. We need to remain united in our response to this virus. It is essential that we all adhere to the rules, because not to do so poses a serious risk.
Whilst our Prime Minister set out a plan for recovery in his speech, we do not yet have one here in Wales. In fact, it is Mark Drakeford, First Minister, who is leading the strategy for Wales, and it was his Welsh Government’s decision last Friday to extend the coronavirus lockdown in Wales for a further three weeks.
There are a few changes, such as allowing us to exercise more than once a day in our local area; enabling local authorities to begin the process of planning how to safely reopen libraries and recycling centres; and the re-opening of garden centres which can comply with the physical distancing duty. Importantly, it remains the case that the single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
It is only for very limited reasons that we can leave our homes. For around six years our nation lived through war, so I am sure that we can pull together an tolerate the lockdown for longer. As Vera Lynn famously sung:
“We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day”
At present, the best action we can take to protect our community is to combine against the evil virus by staying at home. It is a short term sacrifice for a long term gain
Photo by Tim Mossholder.