She sang for freedom

As any who are liberal minded know, we all of us speak for freedom, it is who we are and what we believe in. But to be free takes work. Some work at it by what is called politics, as if it were separate. They do so on the political stage. Others do it in the area of culture. There are amongst them  some who do it on the theatrical stage. As one involved in both, some get it, they relate to that, they understand it.You can speak for freedom, but you can sing for it too. Dame Vera Lynn, years before and after she was made a Dame, was one of those. And one amongst many, a one in a million, whose charm was, she appeared ordinary. Not as self indulgent affectation, but as individual self reflection.Vera Lynn was not ordinary. She was one of the greatest singers ever, in my opinion and that of any who truly heard her. A voice rich and as natural as was her personality, a strength of tone as was the directness of her character, a vibrato as warm as she was. She may have helped to win a war, but I, as one, fifty years younger than her, loved her, ever since a child, in years of peace, and for the peace of mind she brought, just as she had during those of war.

She may have sang of bluebirds over cliffs, and reassured us that we would meet again, but what she sang for was freedom. Not as a concept, to be thought about, not as a craze to be talked about, but as a cry to be felt. Hers was not a cry of tears streaming down a face, expressed with a style accordingly, but it was a more subtle cry from the heart, in a voice as strong as the content of the message in it, from a woman as strong and as human.

When the BNP used one of her songs on a record, thinking themselves entitled to appropriate the message as if it was for Britain, and thus was theirs for the taking, Dame Vera was not amused. She may have been singing for Britain, but not for the Britain the BNP wanted! She was from the world of show business, but was for a better world. She might have conveyed that she was an ordinary wife and mother, but she was the wife of a Jewish husband, musician  and manager, Harry Lewis! Dame Vera sued the BNP and won! All proceeds from that of course went to charity!

In the last lines of that song about those bluebirds over the cliffs, she sang, yearning, for “when the world is free.” For all who love what freedom really is, and from this individual who loved her, thank you Dame Vera.

* Lorenzo Cherin is an actor, writer, and regular contributor to politics as a member of the Liberal Democrats. He is based in Nottingham.

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8 Comments

  • What a lovely post – thank you Lorenzo.

  • Gwyn Williams 20th Jun '20 - 12:43pm

    What an uplifting post. Thank you Lorenzo.

  • The Daily Star is wanting to run a campaign for a Statue to remember her name.THAT IS A STATUE WORTH SUPPORTING!

  • A lovely post about a lovely lady. Well done Lorenzo.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 20th Jun '20 - 6:16pm

    And thank you friends and colleagues for the lovely comments !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • It’s sad and ironic that Vera Lynn, who had a positive and full life, died just when the things people like her were defending are being removed by a parliament which cheerfully uses the current covid situation as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and rights, and through lockdown to destroy lives and livelihoods.

  • Interesting fact came out on Friday that Vera Lynn and the type of song she sang during the war, was criticised by some (Tory?) MPs in the House as not being patriotic and stirring enough.

  • @ Andy Hyde, Yes, and some, including Churchill, didn’t like J.B. (Jack) Priestley, the great Bradfordian writer and broadcaster.

    In 1940, Priestley (son of the founder of free school meals) broadcast a series of short propaganda radio talks that were credited with strengthening civilian morale during the Battle of Britain. In the following years, his radical beliefs brought him into conflict with the government and influenced the development of the welfare state. Churchill banned him from broadcasting because of his advocacy of the Beveridge Report.

    The Life and Times of J.B. Priestley – ArtsEmerson Blogartsemersonblog.org › 2019/01/08 › the-life-and-times-…

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