From Captain Tom to Baby Johnson, the British in search of heroes

A tribute to Captain Tom in the garden of a house in Blyth, UK on April 27.
A tribute to Captain Tom in the garden of a house in Blyth, UK on April 27. LEE SMITH / REUTERS


Like the French government, British leaders have used the war vocabulary a lot since the start of the pandemic, meetings of the “ war cabinet "At Downing Street at" fight Ceaseless against the virus. National media followed, praising the " sacrifice »Of health personnel, multiplying references to popular resilience during the Blitzkrieg (1940-1941). And since the start of containment on March 23, and resistance to the virus, " invisible enemy The British found themselves full of heroes.

Let's start logically with the men and women, nurses, doctors, nursing assistants, stretcher bearers, pharmacists or paramedics, victims of Covid-19. The toll is very heavy: as of May 7, 195 of them had died of the disease according to the specialized site NursingNotes. Areema Nasreen, a nurse, mother of three, died in the Midlands in early April, Manjeet Singh Riyat, an emergency medicine consultant at Derby University Hospital, Afua Fofie, a caregiver at the Hounslow and Richmond Community NHS Trust …

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National Totem

The BBC paid tribute to them, giving voice to families during prime time, multiplying the messages of condolence. On the screen, many tears and sadly similar testimonies: the families describe people who left too quickly, very attached to their profession. They conclude, almost systematically, despite the fatal outcome, by thanking the " fantastic " NHS, the British hospital system, a true national totem. A minute of silence was observed in their honor Tuesday, April 28. The Sun is now campaigning for the NHS teams to be collectively honored with the George's Cross, a prestigious decoration, created in 1940 by King George VI to reward the acts of bravery of civilians.

The British discovered another hero, Captain Tom Moore, a WWII veteran, who became a national mascot. At the beginning of April, he set himself a modest challenge: to raise 1,000 pounds sterling (1,141 euros) for the NHS before the anniversary of his 100th birthday, on April 30, crisscrossing the backyard of his vast cottage. His stubborn smile, multiple appearances on TV channels in search of positive stories did the rest: this ex-civil engineer, having served in Burma during the Second World War, finally collected 33 million pounds for the hospital .

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