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Mary Pitt: Those Marvelous Brits

Those Marvelous Brits


by Mary Pitt

I called an old friend yesterday. I had been meaning to do so for some time, but the pressures of work and family had inteceded and it never seemed to be the right time. At one time, we were sisters-in-law, young, beautiful and dumb! We grew so close that even the upheavals of life and time did not break our bond. We had not spoken in many years and, though she does not live very far away, our friendship had fallen into neglect and I missed it.

I had grown up during World War II in the hinterlands of the United States while her childhood was spent in the environs of London. She came to the United States in her late teens to marry her handsome young soldier and we took much joy in comparing and acquainting each other with our separate and extremely different upbringings. When I awoke to the news of the dastardly attacks on London, I knew that the telephone call was absolutely necessary to convey my horror at the devastating pictures that faced me from my television. When I explained the reason for my call, her response was, "Yes. That was rather nasty, wasn't it?"

As we talked, I realized that, after having lived for years with the constant explosion of bombs and the ratatat of strafing fighter planes, this puny attempt at "terror" may well have been simply a waste of time. Yes, nearly forty people died and many others injured but, by comparison with the utter horror of those war years, this attack appeared to many to be but a speck on the pages of history.

Within hours, despite the orders for people to stay inside their homes and off the streets, people were walking or bicycling about, doing their shopping, and going about their normal business. The only terror was among those on the scene of the attacks while the rest of the populace were merely taking it in stride. Even those who had not yet been born at the time Hitler was subjecting them to ruthless daily torture, even the young have adopted the reality that bad things happen and are comforted by the knowledge that "England will always be England", and "life goes on".

There is the inborn memory of the long nights, huddled in bomb shelters while their city was burning and falling above them, and the days of climbing over the endless rubble while attemping to find and obtain the necessities of life while keeping an eye on the sky for the oncoming "birds" that would prove to be the deadly V-2's which would send them all scuttling back underground.

All these years later, these valiant people are not deterred and are not terrified of the petty annoyance by such people as were responsible for this little foray. Their backs are yet un-bowed, their spirits strong, and they will prevail. This small island, once the ruler of the whole world and, through the colonial ventures, the mother of western civilization, once ruled the world! She may now be older, but is also wiser. She may be smaller, but she is also more experienced in bearing difficulties. She may be weaker militarily, but she is also stronger, steeled in the fires of time and stress.

And so they go about their business, doing their daily work and having their tea on schedule, a great example for their "adult daughters" in the Western Hemisphere.

God save the queen!

*************

Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Her concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance of the United States as a democracy with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and criticism may be addressed to mpitt@cox.net .

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