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UK National Day of Reflection

23rd March 2021 is The UK National Day of Reflection, a 21st century “Remembrance Day”.

On this day we should remember the lives lost and those who tended and nursed the sick during this dreadful global pandemic. We also remember the front-line workers, professional carers, family carers, and volunteers, the retail sector workers and businesses providing essential goods, food, medicines to name but a few.

These extraordinary human beings have given their all for others, sometimes their own lives.  We should also remember the unsung heroes, we sometimes take for granted, who have continued to go to work to provide our security and wellbeing, notably the Fire Service, Police, Coastguard and our Armed Services (there are many others too) all of whom have made a huge contribution to the testing and vaccine programme, keeping us safe in our homes, over and above the other valuable work they do in our communities.

Our police services have been criticised, attacked, and pilloried for trying to enforce the law to keep us safe, but they carried on.

Our paramedics and ambulance technicians have faced an invisible enemy, upfront and personal, putting themselves at huge risk, to provide the often urgent medical, lifesaving attention required, both Covid19 and non-Covid related.  They have done this without question or complaint and sometimes tragically, paid the ultimate price.

There are often comparisons made with regard to this pandemic, the two world wars, and the flu epidemic of 1918.  The extraordinary similarity to these shocking events is the human cost and in turn the human effort to support each other, during a time when the population of the planet faces an enemy which constantly mutates and changes shape.  These seem to be the most relevant similarities.

Our communities and the local volunteer organisations within those places have achieved monumental results. Their selfless efforts have provided food for those vulnerable and those shielding and helped and supported the lonely and isolated, not an easy task with social distancing. A good example of this was my own community. On VE Day during the pandemic, those residents who lived through or in some cases served in the armed forces during the Second World War had a cream tea and VE Day memento delivered to their home. This was a practical alternative to the street parties that had been planned over the previous year but nonetheless a monumental task and wonderful gesture of kindness, on mass.  The special feature was that, in most cases, these were delivered by the children of the village which delighted all recipients. It helped with the spectre of loneliness and isolation and ensured that special day for those people was marked with something positive.

Over and above the scale of loss of human life, which is even today unthinkable, the unseen damage caused to every demographic of humanity by way of mental health is unmeasurable. Tragically, it is unlikely we will ever know the true cost of this.

Reflecting on all of this, and I think there is much, much more, we should rejoice and be thankful for the wonderful acts of human kindness. Be grateful to our scientists here in the UK and all over the globe for their astonishing achievements in developing a vaccine that is already saving lives and protecting our future. Inevitably they will be driven to do more, learn more and in that way, we will eventually beat this awful pandemic and prevent others.

So much has been learned from this, perhaps nature’s way of telling us not to become complacent.

We should stop the “Blame” culture that has inevitably evolved.  Blame is a useless reaction and or emotion, it’s toxic, destructive, and totally unproductive.

It is highly unlikely we will ever know how this really started.  What we do know is, that collectively we can beat it, if we are mindful of others everywhere. We now have to take responsibility for ourselves and help others without reservation. We have demonstrated we can be kind, altruistic, and selfless. We still need to be more disciplined about how we live our lives and be mindful of the risks of daily life whilst still enjoying our surroundings and relationships and looking to the future for the next generations.

I think some of us have learned to live with less and expect less, it can be challenging but it is possible. Travelling less has reduced pollution, Fact.  A typical example of where the world has benefited hugely. The cost to industry however has been massive.  We need now to be innovative. There seems to be glimmers of that innovation in the not too distant future, the vaccine was almost an impossibility within twenty years, it was developed in less than a year.  The same can happen with the business, technology, and science that will be our future. The Hospitality Industry, important to our general wellbeing, whilst a long way from any recovery have already shown they can adapt, hopefully, governments will help and we will adapt too to embrace a new way of living.  Other sectors such as aviation will take longer to both adapt and innovate, but we already have prototypes of electric-powered aircraft, experimental projects on fuel alternatives, and new technologies that will take the industry to the next level, literally.

Everything that comprises our social and business infrastructure has suffered dreadfully, but inevitably, it will recover because we have the will to make it.  Benjamin Franklin once said;

Out of adversity come opportunities.

A positive mantra to move forward.

These reflections and observations just scratch the surface of our learning and ability and as human beings to adapt and rise to such a challenge, more is possible for sure.  These events have confirmed the need for me/us it to put trust in humanity, be optimistic and positive, kind to others and support the community where and when possible.  If we all do this then humanity can survive almost anything. These expressions of reflection are not just related to the UK but the whole world, we all have shared something that has touched or affected every human on this planet and these hopes and fears include everyone on Earth.

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Christopher Fry
Christopher Fryhttp://www.christopherfryassociates.co.uk/
Christopher Fry is an independent, plc board-level management consultant, with more than 25 years of experience specializing in many facets of Human Capital Management including Specialist Resourcing (Interim Management and Executive Search), Executive Coaching, and Mentoring. He has worked at all corporate levels globally (including UK, Europe, GCC (Arabian Gulf) Middle East, Africa, and North America) with established multi-nationals as well as start-up companies, emerging markets, and new technologies.

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2 CONVERSATIONS

  1. Dear Christopher,

    This a most awesome article. ‘Out of adversity come opportunities’. And ‘Nature’s way of telling us not to be complacent’. Meaningful, opening previously locked gateways to emancipation of humankind. If anything this terrible pandemic will have taught us never to take life for granted. One year on after the first lockdown. Production of a vaccine in an unbelievably short time, made possible by people who know what the essence of creating such a amazing elements to combat such a nasty beast. More than that, avoiding Whitehall mandarins who would be buried in paperwork and driving their desks in slow motion. Further, those on the front line of production and distribution ensured contracts were awarded to responsible companies. The result is incredible. I had my second jab on Tuesday.

    We need to be grateful to our amazing NHS front-liners, for they have demonstrated what we all knew; total dedication to treating and saving lives. Their activity is a vocation, not just a ‘job’.

    Thank you Christopher for sharing this incredible article. My compliments to you.

    Simon

  2. There is great respect and promise of hope in these reflections Christopher.
    The funny thing about everything that happens, is that no matter what life throws at us humans, there are those that stand up and throw it back. We humans have made it this far. Being a natural human finds a way to prove that nature always wins.

    Thank you for this read, I found it insightful. I also feel a little more grateful at the end if a long day🙏 Nicely timed for me. Thank you for sharing your wisdom🙏I appreciate you

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