The prompt on Carry On Tuesday this week is the opening of a poem by Siegfried Sassoon entitled Everyone Sang Everyone suddenly burst out singing;.And I was filled with such delight
How patriotic are you? If you are American you’ve probably just said ‘very’! But here in the UK patriotism is something most people don’t think about. I can’t imagine our children starting the school day by swearing allegiance to the Queen. Ask anybody in the street to give you the date of St Georges Day – our patron saint- and you’ll probably get no more than a shrug. I can’t remember the exact figure, but in a recent survey amongst young people, less than half of those asked could not name the Queens husband!There are however, odd occasions when we suddenly get a rush of patriotism. This phenomenon rears its head at the outdoor concerts which have become very popular in recent years. At these events which take place up and down the country, thousands of folk gather in the open air often sporting union jack hats and waving flags. They sit with their picnics on garden chairs in front of a stage on which an orchestra belts out a selection of quintessentially English tunes.
I was at one last August, you may remember the piece I wrote about it. The highlight of these concerts is always the playing of our unofficial national anthem, Rule Britannia. Just like every year, as soon as the orchestra played the opening chords the crowd jumped to its feet, waved its flags in the air and everyone burst out singing. The girl standing next to me was so moved that she was choking back the tears. I was filled with such delight that even I was struggling to keep my stiff upper lip!
An hour later, thousands of people were struggling to get their gridlocked cars out of the muddy car park and moaning about the British weather and the inadequate British roads and wishing they were in sunny Spain!