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Valiant hearts

“All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave…”

Sir John Stanhope Arkwright’s (10 July, 1872 – 19 September, 1954) lyrics to      O Valiant Hearts

11/11/11. Remembrance Day. When we honour those who bravely gave so much.

A day to take time out and ponder and be grateful. A day to meditate on freedom. Freedom to be, freedom to live your life, freedom to follow your dreams.

Some years ago I was introduced to some words of wisdom by the late Nadine Stair of Louisville, Kentucky. She was asked, at the age of 85, what she would do if she could live her life over again.

“I’d make more mistakes next time,” she said. “I’d relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

“You see, I’m one of those people who live sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

“I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, and a raincoat. If I had to do it over again, I would travel lighter than I have.

“If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds and I would pick more daisies.”

I have Nadine’s words pinned up at home and since I first set eyes upon them I have tried to live by them. And as a result I have had some amazing moments.

The gist of what Nadine relayed is to live life to the full, embrace all experiences and say yes to opportunities; to give your all.

On a day where I’ll be wearing my remembrance poppy, I vow I’ll pick more and more daisies.

* If you have become inspired to pick more daisies after reading this then please make a donation to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal which supports those who have served or are serving in the British Armed Forces and their families. To quote the British Prime Minister David Cameron: “We all wear the poppy with pride, even if we don’t approve of the wars people were fighting in, to honour the fact these people sacrificed their lives for us.”


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