At 12 NOON the nation will stop for one minute to reflect on the past year – one of the most difficult in this nation’s history.
At 8pm tonight people are being encouraged to stand on doorsteps with phones, candles and torches to signify a "beacon of remembrance".
It is almost eery to look back on this day one year ago, when our Prime Minister addressed the nation with grave news, in a manner not seen since 1940. It is not only that our lives pre-COVID have begun to morph into memories of a different era, but that each and every one of us has been impacted by the realities that have since unfolded. We remember the 126, 429 countrymen who were struck down by this novel virus, oftentimes alone or distant from their loved ones. We remember the elderly, deprived of the joys of fraternity, family and affection in the last years of their lives. We remember the lonely, and the isolated, whose own company may have been too much to bear at times. We remember the businessmen and women who have put one foot in, one foot out and had to do it over again and again in an uncertain and volatile economy. We remember every job lost. We remember all those people who have had routine and emergency scans delayed, and the consequences for them and their families. The consequences of this pandemic are all around us, and yet when we look around our community, county and country – we should also remember the force of good.
We remember the NHS frontline staff, who have endured a year which many of us cannot imagine. We remember every supermarket worker, delivery worker, taxi driver, cleaner, corner shop owner, chemist, factory worker and anyone who had no choice but to carry on and put themselves at risk every day. We remember the tens of thousands of volunteer hours put in to ensuring the vulnerable residents of Melksham had somewhere to go for help and assistance. We remember every person who telephoned someone who needed a call. We remember the paramedics, police, fire service and social workers – the entire civic infrastructure – that carries on whether or not individuals are put at risk. We remember everyone who took food to a neighbour, anyone who put a box of books outside their house for people to borrow, and anyone who drew a picture and put it in their windows. We remember the civility at the Black Lives Matter protest last summer, and the excitement of the children who got to enjoy the splashpad, albeit in a small 6 week window. We remember the workers who made it happen, and every person who has been out and about emptying litter bins, or picking up rubbish on the streets. We remember the incredible speed and effective rollout of this vaccine and everyone who has been involved, from the PM down to the cleaner at the Melksham vaccine centre.
A huge Thank you to every member of our community who has stepped up and continues to step up as we chart our way through the final stages of the pandemic. With so much work done and so many lessons learned, the result is that we now live in an even more connected and responsive community. A proud legacy for our town.
It has indeed been a torrid year for our country, with much to mourn. We can also be deeply proud of our community and our country. If you can, take a moment today to reflect. Not just about the people we have lost but also about how we endured and how we came together.
Melksham Town Council