Shropshire Star

Dan Morris: Thank you for never giving up

It's time to hit the road again.

It will soon be time to say thank you...

As I write, Papa Morris is on the way to South Wales to retrieve our love bus from its winter hideaway. A series of modifications have brought our faithful camper van up to spec, with the stars of the show being some rather trendy 'shadow glass' windows. There's no doubt about it, she's looking good, and party/touring season is sure to be a treat this year.

First stop for 2024 (or at least the first scheduled stop) will be Portsmouth for the big D-Day 80th anniversary celebrations. I've only visited fair old Pompey once before - also with dad but back many moons ago when I was only a nipper. I remember him remarking that he really loved HMS Victory (Nelson's fabled flagship) as it was the only place that, at 5ft 7", he could legitimately bang his head. To be up-close and personal with the collective pride of the Royal Navy this June, and honour those who fought for freedom and liberty during the Second World War, will be an immense privilege, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to it. Before this particularly poignant occasion though, 'road tripping lite' is about to kick off with a momentous event.

Today, my daughter and I will be darkening the halls of a shopping centre not far from our fair region, as I take her to enjoy her first Star Wars convention.

At the tender age of one-and-a-half, she is admittedly young to be inducted as a Jedi-in-training. But, as should be the case considering her blood, I can tell that the Force is already strong in this one, and so there's no time like the present to see what those midi-chlorians can do.

As an absolute dork (and now an absolute dork of a dad), I have to confess that I have been looking forward to this occasion with almost-unparalleled excitement since the day my delightful little Jawa was born. I won't, I know, be the first parent who has taken the opportunity to force-feed their bambina with their own interests before they are old enough to develop true passions of their own. And while I'm hopeful, I'm also a realist - it's highly unlikely she's going to want to join me in dressing up as a Stormtrooper when she's 18. Still, providing that today yields enough embarrassing photos to make a proper show of her when she is such an age, a big and delicious part of my work as a dad will be done.

I once heard it said that embarrassing your kids is just about the best thing about being a parent, and the devil in me is very much looking forward to when I can get this started in earnest. However, I think I'll be waiting for a while. With a cheeky not-so-much-a-cherub running around who delights in few things more than rubbing cream cheese in her hair while topless, clearly she has already developed a very thick skin, and it'll be a long time before she sheds it by caring about what others think.

In the context of the upcoming D-Day anniversary, I watch my daughter happily messing around in the wonderful world she inhabits without a care, and I think about the sacrifices it has taken for that world to exist. For all the happiness my daughter experiences, and for all that is yet to come for her, I owe those men and women of 80 years ago a debt that can never truly be repaid. And for being able to spend my private life indulging in such frivolous things as science fiction (indeed, for being able to live free and do whatever I want) I owe them my world as well.

So before the anniversary month hits and I stand with pride alongside many others in Pompey, I want to get in there early and say a very personal thank you.

Thank you to all of those who were there and stood together for what was right. Thank you to those who gave so that we might thrive. Thank you for acting with consequence, so that we can now occasionally enjoy the inconsequential. Thank you for protecting our future and that of our children. Thank you for never giving up.

We will always remember, and so, indeed, we all should.

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