I’m several weeks late… but at least I’m still in the right month.  Being the month of Remembrance Day, I am reminded of a song which hints at a present war (it was written in 1941, at the height of the Battle of Britain) but anticipates a brighter future.  For the hope it offered, it became (deservedly) one of the popular songs of that war.  (Dame) Verna Lynn, the singer who made it famous is still living (as far as I can discover).   As an aside, in September 2009 her greatest hits collection, “We’ll Meet Again – The Very Best of Vera Lynn“, topped the UK album charts, making her the oldest artist ever to do so, aged 92.

There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see
 There’ll be love and laughter
And peace ever after
When the world is free
 The shepherd will tend his sheep

The valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep
In his own little room again
 There’ll be bluebirds over
The white cliffs of Dover
 Just you wait and see.


If you’ve never heard her version, here’s your opportunity (or a chance to get reacquainted).


November 22nd, 1963

Our grade five class was outside for its regular phys ed class.  With no school gym we were doubtless playing soccer or baseball (I don’t remember) in typical November weather… grey, cold and cloudy.  Our teacher, who had disappeared earlier in the period, returned and summoned us to line up along the fenced backstop.  There we were informed that, a short time before, the President of the United States had been shot and killed.  I don’t remember how the remainder of the school day unfolded.  I do remember that, once home, all television programming (predominated in our region by American stations) was devoted to the shooting and a presidency cut short.  In the days to follow the collective introspection was only amplified with the funeral and the shooting of the suspected assassin.  The images-  a smiling JFK just before the shots rang out, the secret service agent scrambling onto presidential limousine to protect Jackie, the swearing-in of Johnson aboard Air Force One with Jackie (still in her blood-covered Chanel pink dress) at his side, the shock on Oswald’s face as he is gunned down by Jack Ruby and JFK’s toddler son (John Jr.) saluting the horse-drawn caisson bearing his father’s body… those images are seared into memory and still, fifty years later, they retain their intensity.

… and it is now exactly fifty years from that event.



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