Sunday 6th June 2004

The 40th President of the United States, passed away yesterday. A strong symbol of 1980s America. The news was overshadowed, by the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings. I have been enjoying some of the coverage on the BBC. History is one of my favourite subjects, and the Second World War, is the greatest topic for me. What makes the events more significant to me personally, is that eleven years ago, I was in Normandy with my middle school. I have dug out some photographs, I just need to find the time to scan them in and upload them to the website. There are some interesting photographs, as I have images of Pegasus Bridge. The site of the first moments of liberation on 6th June 1944. I also have an postcard, autographed by Major John Howard, who was in charge of the operation to secure the bridge. That was the location of the celebrations and ceremony yesterday afternoon. Today, it was the time of the great American war cemetery in Coalville. I also have some photographs of this peaceful place, overlooking Omaha beach. The final resting place for some 9,000 US service man. Again, I will try and scan some images in and upload them as soon as I can. For the time being, I recommend you go the fantastic BBC D-Daywebsite.

Let us never forget the price these young men and women paid for us. For our tomorrow they gave their today. We must remain grateful for their sacrifice and pray that never again should a time come, when such great sacrifices have to be made again. As I left the NEC on Saturday afternoon, over a week ago, I headed to the railway station. On my way there, I saw some veterans from the Battle Of Britain seeking small donations for their charity. I gave some money, the little change I had on me, to hear a voice behind me say to these old men, “People quickly forget the great things, ordinary men, like you did for us,”. I turned around to find out who had said this, but it was too late, he was gone. I smiled, as I was given a badge, feeling somewhat proud. Proud to know that the sacrifices of others, strangers in a generation nearing their end, have not gone unnoticed or unobserved.

My journey back to Leicester that Saturday evening was via the 330 coach, to Nottingham. When I eventually found the correct coach, (there were two going to Nottingham, but only one stopping at Leicester) there were only a few spaces left. So I grabbed the first seat I could and sat down next to a guy, around my age. He was listening to his CD walkman, and I could hear the distant sound of Vindaloo by Fat Les over his earphones. Instantly my thoughts drifted to Euro 2004. It had completely slipped my mind, that here were on the verge of another classic international tournament. The build up is so different to the World Cup two years ago. Perhaps because it lacks the global appeal. I know certain people who, although have no strong interest in football, will watch the World Cup religiously. When it comes to the European Championships, however, they do not bat an eyelid. Never mind. There loss at the end of the day. So many great players being showcased! However, I really had an urge to discuss England’s chances with the passenger sitting next to me. I then made the initial judgment, that he was being highly antisocial and did not want to talk. I promised myself, the moment he stopped listening to his music, I would speak to him. That opportunity came, just as the coach was pulling off the M69 and into Leicester. I soon discovered I was sitting next to Andy Guilder. Someone who again, is making those sacrifices in his own way to help those who have drifted from the righteous path. To my surprised he too keeps his own journal, in the form of his website, AGuilder. I even get a mention, if rather brief during an update last month. My blog is having a major impact in my life even letting new people find out more about my life. I just hope that future brings with it more happiness, not just for me, but for all the new people that have recently walked into my life.

In the past 12 months I have made more friends that I could ever have imagined. Now that I am back in Wycombe, I see a need to reconnect with my old college and schoolfriends. This is not going to be an easy task, but at least I will try and see what sort of reception I get. Maybe even some have been keeping ‘tabs’ on me via this blog. Then again, knowing my friends, maybe not.

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