4th July - Variations on the theme ...
As the whole wide world and his dog knows, today the United States of America eagerly celebrates 4th July - Independence Day.
What's not nearly as widely known nor well remembered, is that the United Kingdom has it's own very good reason to celebrate the same date. For it was on this day in 1954 when 14 years of food-rationing finally finished - having been introduced on 26th July 1942, during those dark days of WW2.
How many here, I wonder, remember the years of rationing as clearly as This Old Brit does? Perhaps some would rather not say for fear of giving their age away. Heh. Ain't vanity a virtue?
Here's how the BBC reported, 51 years ago today, the nationwide UK derationing celebrations.
1954: Housewives celebrate end of rationing.
Fourteen years of food rationing in Britain ended at midnight when restrictions on the sale and purchase of meat and bacon were lifted.
Members of the London Housewives' Association held a special ceremony in London's Trafalgar Square to mark Derationing Day.
I wonder how many times the more senior among us have told our children - and our grandchildren - things like: "You don't know the meaning of hardship." Or maybe: "You've got things easy these days." And, especially this particular old favourite: "When I was your age .......".
Ha! I'll wager most of This Old Brit's younger readers find exactly the same phrases every bit as familar. Right, guys? Indeed, I'm willing to bet that right now the sound of many bells are ringing just about everywhere. No?
However, then just as now, good news always seemed to be tempered by some not so good news. As shown in the next BBC clip & paste, for example.
Butchers are predicting meat prices will soar for the next couple of weeks ...
Like Perry Como crooned - memories are made of this - eh? But as for those times being 'the good old days'? This Old Brit thinks not; most definitely not.
Whilst not in any way wanting to seem a grumpy old party-pooper, I happen to believe that it would behold us all, to pause from our respective celebrations for a moment - and ponder.
Ponder upon why, even now, after so much sacrifice, deprivation and suffering by so many people throughout the world , many millions still struggle daily in similarly sad situations.
As I write, already five and a half years into the 21st century, two thirds of our planet's people still go hungry; to the point of actual starvation in many, many cases.
Even with food ration books, life wouldn't become any less miserable for these poor souls. Because, people can't eat ration books.
Promises won't feed anyone, either. Be they made by Blair, Bush or the alleged great & good of the posturing and dubious, gents of G8. Incidentally, I use the words posturing & dubious, advisedly.
Consider the very recent self righteous, personal and pompus trumpet blowing of George Bush. What a pity most people don't realise that all the extra aid he's been bragging about giving where it's needed - isn't quite what it seems to be. What he's actually giving - is no more than a promise. A promise that by the year 2010, he will have delivered on that promise.
This Old Brit says: "Promises cost nothing, and G.W. Bush promises are worth even less than that."
So, while it is nice to celebrate, it's also important to contemplate. And then to take time to show some compassion - in measurably sincere and practical ways.
Now, whether it's to learn or reminisce, to wallow in nostalgia or simply to satisfy plain old curiosity - the BBC's rationing-related web site is well worth a visit. As is the rationing-picture site I've also provided a linked for .