Sunday, September 21, 2008

Battle of Britain Day

So, here we are on September 21st and - apart from a couple of desultory air displays and "The Battle of Britain" on Film 4 - there has been virtually no mention of Battle of Britain Day 2008. I don't get it. Across the 120 days of Summer 1940 the Third Reich got its first bloody nose and failed to subdue the British people. Consequently and subsequently, Hitler and all he stood for was defeated. And what do we do now? We forget it.

September 15th is loosely remembered as "Battle of Britain Day". I would bet that less than 1% of the British public knows this. More will know that July 4th is Independence Day in the USA; more still will recall a failed "gunpowder plot" on November 5th. The Scots will rightly remember St Andrew's Day, the Welsh will do the same for St David's Day. If the Irish do it properly, they won't remember St Patrick's Day the following day. St George's Day? Lightly remembered.

But Battle of Britain Day deserves better.

I am coming across as very nationalistic here and I'm really not. I am very pro-EU. I am certainly not anti-German; I love Germany, its people, places and language. It is my travel destination of choice.

But I am anti-Nazi and it remains a constant source of puzzlement to me that - given the chance - we would rather forget our "finest hour" than remember it.

Raise a glass to "the Few" when you remember. They are worth our memories and our thanks.

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