Good to see the Royal Princes out in public this week, even though the occasion was a sad one: their granny’s funeral. I’m reminded of the ancient Chinese fable in which a young and foolish man goes to an older, wiser one to ask for the secret of perfect happiness.
“Easy.” says the sage. “Grandfather dies, man dies, son dies.” “What?” says the young one. “Three deaths? How can that bring perfect happiness?”
“Because” replies the old man, “that’s the right order to die in. Any other order and you’re in trouble.“
We were reminded last weekend of the thousands who died ‘in the wrong order’ on the Normandy beaches in 1944, as their still living friends and colleagues marched or shuffled or were wheeled past the salutes and the speeches and the gravestones. It was dignified and, at times, moving. But it didn’t seem to go much beyond that. Where was today’s youth? Where was some representative of the THIRD generation currently benefiting from the extraordinary sacrifices made 60 years ago? What was there to connect the old, old men with anything relevant to today?
It’s all very well saying “We will remember them” but soon, unless we’re careful, we won’t.
Prince William and his brother could have been the ideal ambassadors to highlight that connection across the generations and make D-Day count for their
In doing so they would have set an example to the modern-day crusaders currently setting off to Portugal with their flags of St George, in the misguided belief that their ‘invasion’ of Europe is somehow worthy or useful or in a “noble tradition”. It is none of these things. Proved by the tacky parallels with June 6th
1944 The Sun is trying to draw, it is just a glorified publicity stunt to make a sporting event look more important than it really is, and in dubious taste to boot.
The only people sport keeps physically fit are the people who play it, so add in Wimbledon and the Olympic Games and the rest of us must prepare for total brain-atrophy over the next couple of months. When we’re old geezers too tired to think, that’s the time to sit on the sofa enjoying complete passivity.
Until then I’m going to try and find something better to do.