Over the weekend I took time away from painting and wargaming to spend an evening with the Normandy Veterans Association. The NVA officially ceased to exist a couple of years ago but despite dwindling numbers the members of the Southend Branch have continued as an independent group. They hold an annual Dinner Dance supported by members, friends and family, and this year I joined them for an old fashion evening of big band music and dancing. And let me tell you, nobody parties quite as hard as a D-Day Veteran!
|The Veterans receive their colours|
|A piper started the evening off|
|My Wife and I enjoyed a wonderful meal with family|
|Dancing to a Big Band and some swinging tunes from the 40's.|
|Don Shepherd, Chairman of the Southend branch of the NVA gave a great speech.|
|Myself and Don towards the end of the evening|
|Alec Hall, a veteran of Arnhem, signs my brother-in-laws new book The Airborne Club|
I know these posts about meeting the Veterans are a bit off-topic for a painting and wargaming Blog but meeting these guys always reminds me of the real cost of war. We treat these periods as 'fun' but for these guys the memory of the sacrifices they made are just as fresh now as they were 70 years ago. Don't get me wrong I think we should wargame modern conflicts - a lot can be learnt from such pursuits - but we should always do so remembering the need to be respectful and sensitive when we play at war, particularly conflicts that are still within living memory.