It's amazing for me to learn that the grand old lady is alive and well today. On March 20, she'll be 92.
Maybe it's because of the following song that countless Australians of my generation learned that the English Channel was bordered by tall white chalk cliffs. Those of us who have problems in trying to imagine blue-feathered birds in the English sky must understand that Vera Lynn's symbolic "bluebirds" above the English Channel were in fact Spitfire fighter aircraft.
The haunting refrain of Vera Lynn's following song—no doubt her greatest success—was a prayer for the safe return of soldiers:
The great English cities were blacked out at night so that Nazi bombers would not be able to find them. The bombs, too, must have cut off the electricity in many places. So, the image of awaiting the return of the lights is both a metaphor of peace and a reality.
I'm surprised at times to realize that, although I was a child out in the Antipodes, the events and the spirit of this harsh period appear to have marked me.