NEWS COMMENT: Here’s hoping government will help our city celebrate

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Hopes are high that the powers-that-be in government will honour the request for Portsmouth to become the national focus for marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Such an occasion would be an undoubted filip for the city but also a genuine pat on the back for the few surviving veterans from that war and of course their families too.

In this day and age it is almost impossible to think of those dark Second World War times and what our armed forces and allies went through in the name of freedom.

Of course the whole nation pays tribute on an annual basis to those who fought and lost their lives in both world wars but this commemoration would also bring Portsmouth to the forefront and recognise, as council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson says, that: ‘D-Day was not only planned here in Portsmouth but it was executed here. It saved Europe and the world from fascism and that’s important to remember.’

Wise words indeed.

And the best thumbs-up for the idea comes from a D-Day veteran himself, namely John Jenkins,who witnessed the drama of Operation Overlord first hand.

John had spent five years in the Merchant Navy when he was called up to work on the ammunition at Gold Beach in Arromanches, France, as a young man.

Now at the ripe old age of 98, John says: ‘It would be one of the best things that has ever happened to Portsmouth.

‘This city needs to be lifted up to the top in recognition of the role it played and this would give is the boost we need.’

So, the ball is firmly in the government’s court now simply because an event such as this will need funding – and plenty of it.

Even in these seemingly endless days of ‘austerity cuts’ it is sincerely hoped the cash can be found.