Dame Vera Lynn has died, according to a statement released by her family. It’s a sad turn of events as Britain starts to slowly emerge from a lockdown that largely held Lynn at its center.
Just a few short weeks ago, Queen Elizabeth II referenced Dame Vera’s hit wartime song “We’ll Meet Again” in her speech, encouraging people to “Stay home, save lives, and protect the NHS.”
Many were struck by the nostalgia of the song, which was Britain’s World War II anthem. As a result of Her Majesty’s rousing speech, Lynn became the oldest person in history to hit the top 40 when her greatest hits album entered the chart at number 30. This coincided with the 75th anniversary of VE day, making it an extra-special occasion for the star.
However, while Dame Vera’s passing is indeed sad and marks the end of an era spanning over 100 years, it’s far from tragic.
They say there are two things certain in life: death and taxes. For some, the former comes much sooner than they ever would’ve hoped. Take, for example, the nearly 450,000 people that have died from Covid-19 this year. Lives lost from a disease that we barely know how to fight is a genuine cause for tears. The loss of a soul years before ripe old age is a real tragedy.
The peaceful passing of a 103-year-old woman who did more with her life than any of us can ever hope is not. Anyone that dubs it a tragedy is sadly misinformed.
While we don’t know the exact cause of Lynn’s death, the family has said Vera was surrounded by loved ones when she passed.
The family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers at the age of 103. Dame Vera Lynn, who lived in Ditchling, East Sussex, passed away earlier today, 18 June 2020, surrounded by her close family.
This isn’t the first time that the death of a public figure of natural old age has been dubbed “tragic.” So, why are we so eager to throw around that word?
Dame Vera Lynn was a truly iconic figure, with a career that had a rare historical impact. She was also one of the only remaining Brits of her generation. Her loss is undoubtedly devastating to those around her, and her presence will be deeply missed. However, even Dame Vera herself would admit that she had a good stretch.
Not many people live to see 103, so why would we ever demean Lynn by calling her death a tragedy? It’s far from it. Vera lived a full and beautiful life. She traveled the world and did more for her country than most. To dub her passing a tragedy isn’t the compliment that many appear to think it is (judging by the reams of tweets containing the word.)
Instead, it’s a belittling way to lament the loss of an interstellar entertainer. There was nothing tragic about Dame Vera Lynn. She was the epitome of strength. Her passing shouldn’t be mired with people using words they don’t correctly understand.
Lynn, who lived through two world wars, would be the first to recognize a real tragedy. Spoiler alert: it’s not this.
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