Well, here we are again; another Sabbath – they come around quickly these days, don’t they?
This post is a Special Sunday edition. you’ll be surprised/pleased/relieved to hear that I am not going to moan about anything today. Yep, today is totally dedicated to honour, humility, peace, love and Dads.
You’d have to have been living underground without tv or wi-fi to not have witnessed what has been happening to our wonderful planet over the last month or so. Okay, I know that horrors and atrocities occur all the time, all over the world, every minute of every day, and yes, living in England, our tiny-but-glorious corner of the world, we are generally sheltered from the worst of it and tend to be blinkered when it comes to realising just how broken our planet is, but just recently – and against our will – we have been awakened.
On the 22nd of March 2017 at 14.40, a fellow Brit drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge injuring more than 50 people and killing four. He then stabbed a police officer on duty outside the palace to death.
A few weeks later, innocent children and relatives were pointlessly murdered whilst leaving an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. A single, cowardly attack by a lone, misguided monster. Blindly led by the pathetic scum known as ISIS, who yet again, falsely claimed it was in the name of religion.
Just twelve days after that, three men (and I use the term loosely) drove a white van into crowds on London Bridge before jumping from it and randomly attacking Saturday night revellers in Borough Market, again, killing many more innocent people. Thankfully, our wonderful police shot them dead within minutes.
On Wednesday of the week just gone, I awoke to the news that a block of flats in London was ablaze and there were several fatalities, with more expected.
Our little isle is hurting right now.
We are sad, angry, bewildered, dazed.
But there is one thing we are NOT and that is scared.
The UK has proved – yet again – just how resilient and precious its inhabitants can be. How strong, how brave and how determined we are as a nation, not to let hate win.
We went to that concert that you thought we wouldn’t attend, we cheered at the massive end of season football match and sang songs, we wandered the streets of big cities in step with the armed police that smiled as they posed for pictures and we stuck two fat fingers up at your stupid, weightless argument. We screamed: FUCK YOU!
Okay, we cried. We stood in silence to remember the victims and the tiresless work of our angel army that is the emergency services and we let our hearts break at our loss, but something else happened.
We got strong.
We got stronger than ever.
We got re-UNITED.
I visited St. Anne’s Square in Manchester before attending the Robbie Williams concert on June 3rd to pay my respects and as heart-wrenching as it was, it was also beautiful.
People who had never met put their arms around stranger’s shoulders and shed shared tears. They stood, sombre, reading tributes to the victims, no doubt collectively wondering what on earth it had all been for. They walked quietly around the memorial, hearts aching, but also bursting with pride. Pride for something you will never destroy.
Our country is reeling, it’s crying right now, but it’s also fiercly brave, and proud.
Proud of the way that we still welcome different people, different cultures and different beliefs with open arms.
Proud of the thousands of police staff, firefighters, military personnel, paramedics, doctors, nurses, surgeons, porters, receptionists, counsellors, cleaners, chefs, taxi drivers, reporters, news readers, politicians, volunteers and members of our not-so-ordinary public who have given their all or just a little over the past few months; whoever you are, you have made a difference and we thank you for it.
Hate will never win, because love exists.
So I dedicate this post to us all.
You can keep trying to knock us down, but we’ll just dust ourselves off and get right back up again, as we always do.
We are the United Kingdom.
We are England; God’s own country.
We are GREAT Britain.
PS. Happy Father’s Day. 🙂