A Fitting Memorial
There is a growing, public discussion about whether, and, if we do, how we should “commemorate” the pandemic
The notion of commemorating major events that have had a huge impact on many people is a noble part of our country’s culture and history. I am sure we will do so again this time, as a way of paying respects to all those who have suffered, and as a memorial for future generations to acknowledge.
However, there are many questions to answer before we know how best to remember this most unsettling, frightening, and, for some, tragic of times. Our war memorials commemorate victory, and name the dead: but, this time, is it right to talk about “victory”, when it is not at all clear that we have “won”; nor are we certain who actually are the “dead”, when estimates vary from almost 130,000 to many more than that.
Rather than just thinking about symbols and memorabilia, surely a more fitting memorial would be action to:
- Urgently, and publicly, learn lessons from the pandemic so far, so that we saves lives in the future
- Rewrite our national emergency plan, and appoint a Minister in charge of it, so that we are never again caught out as we were in March last year
- Show our thankful support for the NHS by paying a necessary level of taxes, rather than relying on charitable donations
- Transform the funding and delivery of social care
- Recognise that, in addition to “heroes” and “victims”, all of us have been affected, profoundly.