Selflessness and public service have been shown to be things we can all do.
In March 2020, as our nation was engulfed by the pandemic, as all of our worlds suddenly became very local during a national lockdown, one man decided to do something to support those on our front line – the hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens who work in the NHS.
It was a simple demonstration of solidarity, a selfless act from someone who grew to signify hope in a period of darkness, uncertainty and fear.
Through Captain Tom’s efforts, the value we place on those who put our lives before their own, has once again been celebrated.
A simple act of kindness has been shown to be something we can all show one another.
Public service, in all its forms, has been recognised by and inspired fellow citizens far more than the pursuance of temporary notoriety or glory.
We’ve seen that you don’t need to be famous, rich or gifted to make a difference or to change how people view life or to make another person smile.
Age has been proven not to be a barrier, nor a limitation on being an example for others to follow, to emulate and to be inspired by.
This period has revealed that you do not have to be a Leader to show true leadership.
As the nation reflects on his passing, if we lived in biblical times, one could easily imagine writers and scholars scribing the story of ‘Captain Tom’.
How one man, an ordinary but remarkable man, set about recognising the services of others and who inspired a nation to have hope amidst despair. Maybe they would explain his actions as an embodiment of their God and suggest he was sent to show us how to live a better life. Who can tell?
What does seem clear to me is that the task of rebuilding our economy and our communities requires everyone to play their part. The pandemic has created an unavoidable reason and a once in a century opportunity to redefine our values. To restore life, not to what it was before March 2020, but to establish a new, kinder, stronger and selfless society with an economy that recognises its impact on our climate, our nature and the well being of mankind.
If we do not, we will have completely squandered a precious gift now suddenly lost – that gift being Captain Sir Tom Moore and the light that he shone on all of us during this last incredible year.
There is no reason for any of us not to want “tomorrow to be a good day” for everyone, but it will mean that we cannot go back to how we were, but to find a new way of making our communities work for everyone.
Our politics has become one of extremes, yet few of us are extreme. We need to redefine the importance of public service, encourage people to follow the example of Captain Tom and be brave enough to debate the issues with passion, yes, but without the hatred and rancour that has filled the airwaves in recent years. To understand that there is always another view and to find ways that means everyone has a part to play in building a brighter future.
We do not all enjoy the same talents, but we do need to respect what each can give to a shared cause. The pandemic has affected everyone regardless of age. It has exposed our failings and shone a light on our strength.
Let’s not waste it, let’s make this the time when we all stopped the world, got off and decided things could be so much better for everyone and made it so.