Yesterday the crowds gathered at the Southsea common, where a stadium had been erected to host the Queen and sixteen other world dignitaries in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the D-day landing, 1944.
The guests of honor were the three hundred veterans that served in the heroic storming of the coastlines in Nazi occupied France, including Harry Read (95) and John Hutton (94). These decorated gentlemen joined the crowd in listening to the speech delivered by the Queen, where she reflected on her father and how the country overcame the Axis powers swelling throughout Europe during the Second World War thanks to the bravery of men and women who served in the armed forces. Her speech emphasized that the veterans had shown ‘unconquerable resolve’ as well as ‘courage and endurance’ that cemented their actions in the pages of history.
The crowd then enjoyed a spectacle performed by the Red Arrows, who weaved jets of red, white and blue through the sky above Southsea in honor of the fallen. This was accompanied with stories and diary entries of those who lived through D-day, orated by the world leaders in attendance, and then an hour long production that told the story of the invasion.
As if their bravery hadn’t already been proven enough, both Harry Read and John Hutton skydived in tandem with the British Army Red Devils over Normandy for the second time. I would like to congratulate both veterans on a spectacular tribute to their fallen comrades and for demonstrating that courage has no age. Though the generation of her majesty are more frail and weary at the time of this anniversary, they are unquestionably resilient.
Courage has no age
Though less than a mile away protests were taking place a mile away in Guildhall square against the visit of President Donald Trump, they didn’t disturb the celebration in Southsea. As many students were in attendance for the protest, it is clear that the university community felt strongly about the arrival of Mr Trump. Though we have a right to protest and express our opinions against what we view as wrong, it is also wise to remember that this celebration shouldn’t be about President Trump, or his controversial reputation, but about the veterans that fought to defend the freedom of people at home and overseas. Giving the President’s activities more attention only signifies to our elders that they are old news and don’t deserve our fullest respect. Though Trump may not be the most popular with the community of Portsmouth, let’s remember the 75th anniversary, not as the day we protested against Trump, but the day we paid tribute to the men and women that guaranteed our freedom for years to come.