I sit here on the eve of one of the busiest weekends of the year here in Saddleworth, The Yanks are coming!
When I say Yanks I mean an army of 1930s re-enactors along with Jeeps, tanks, guns, uniforms and all of the paraphernalia that goes along with them visiting. These are very dedicated people who love to celebrate the past and in Churchill’s words “our finest hour”. We even have a fly pass of spitfires and Lancaster’s!
It is all under the premise of celebrating the film Yanks that was made in the seventies using locations in and around Saddleworth.
Now I know it’s not fashionable to celebrate war on any level however if you look past the obvious I can see the appeal. For example, if you can imagine if you lived through those years. For some, it meant huge sacrifice but for some who came out of it on the other side, it was quite possibly the most exciting and dangerous time of your life.
Veterans who I have spoken to who survived say that they lived in the moment and didn’t take anything for granted and did extraordinary things just to survive.
Last week I read of an extraordinary woman, Mary Ellis who was 102 who had passed away. Nothing remarkable there I hear you say but what she did in the war years was astounding. She delivered Spitfires and all sorts of planes to airfields all over Europe.
I just wish there were role models like her around today for our young people to look to for inspiration instead of the endless battalions of reality stars who are all about themselves rather than working for the greater good.
We seemed to have travelled backwards since that time. After the war, many of the women who worked as engineers and in all sorts of positions that were normally the preserve of men quietly returned to being the “little woman at home”.
What a wasted opportunity that was, all that talent wasted just so we could all get back to normal.
So back to this weekend, There will be promenading, dancing, drinking and everyone having a fantastic time. But I think that we should share a thought for the generations of people who sacrificed so much for us to enjoy the lives we have today which I sometimes take for granted.
So to everyone who lost a relative or a loved one, I thank you for your sacrifice and I hope that in years to come we will still remember them and try to ensure that the incalculable loss on all sides was not in vain and we do not travel down that path again anytime soon.