‘We should be proud of the Army coming to help with vaccine rollout’

We are living through terrible times right now. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

But during stressful periods such as these we also have a knack of exposing the very best that the human condition has to offer.

And right now those qualities are embodied by our nurses, doctors, paramedics, teachers, and our Army – regarded as one of the best in the world and about to be called in again to help get the vaccine distributed to millions by February.

This horrible time has also seen the emergence of kind neighbours, of teachers working even further beyond the call of duty than they already have been, of volunteers, all of them ambassadors for the very best human traits.

I’m referring to bravery, to compassion, to love, kindness and generosity. To the true depth of the human spirit, which never fails to kick in during the worst of times. Our Army.

I’ll say it again: what about our amazing Army? Always there in times of trouble, in the most hostile of territories as well as among the grateful recipients in their efforts to distribute the vaccine.

Selfless, compassionate, brave, indefatigable – they rank among the very best of us all.

The training’s tough, as evidenced by my 21-year-old son. In the middle of his Army basic training, he’s currently spending his nights sleeping – or trying to – outside in the freezing cold. And his days in said freezing cold, running with 60kg of something or other on his back.

Sometimes he’s in a mightily cold river, up to his neck in shivers and unpredictability. Alarmingly, he’s also a bit of a dab hand with a rifle and the early recipient of a marksmanship award. Make a note of that local burglars!

Despite all these achievements, each time he phones I think “this is it”, this is the “sorry Mum, but I’m quitting” phone call.

Not on my watch, Sergeant Major, not on my watch… not when, in this combat situation, with the virus as our arch enemy, his country needs him.

And his bedroom here at home is tidy for the first time in 21 years!