BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the day
© John Denney 8 November 2002
It was my birthday this week. I’m not saying what birthday it was! Let’s just say I was a post-war baby. Oh, OK, work it out for yourself: On Wednesday I was 499,656 hours old. By comparison, good old BBC Radio Leicester isn’t yet middle-aged, celebrating its 35th birthday today. That’s a mere 306,816 hours! And during the course of today, we’ll be looking back at all those hours of listening pleasure our favourite local station has brought us.
Looking back can bring painful memories as well as happy ones. 10th November this year is Remembrance Sunday. It’s a day the nation recalls the men and women who fought for the good and important things now enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Things like the right to life, liberty and security of person; freedom from slavery, torture, from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, and from oppressive interference with privacy; freedom to travel, to marry and have a family, freedom to own property, to assemble peacefully, to work, and to have our children educated. Things that the Nazi party denied to people under its rule. Things that we enjoy today, thanks to the heroism of previous generations.
Just what we remember depends on our own experiences. And those memories change and get clouded as time passes by. Distance does lend enchantment to the view. We tend to remember the happy times rather than the bad ones. Just as it hardly ever rained when we were children, so many people’s recollection of the 2nd World War concentrates on ITMA and Workers’ Playtime and Vera Lynn, forgetting the death and suffering and destruction the country was faced with, and the servicemen lived with, through five long years. And maybe this is a good thing, for bad memories can be very destructive.
There will be many tears shed this weekend as people remember their comrades in arms, their colleagues and friends, their relatives close and distant, who died and suffered in the conflicts this nation has endured. Let us not dwell on our sadness, but recall the good and positive memories. Echoing St. Paul in his letter to the church at Philippi, we say, to all who made their sacrifice for our benefit, I thank my God every time I remember you. [Philippians 1:3]