WE ARE rapidly approaching March 23 - the first anniversary of the first lockdown. The date that changed everything in our country, as it has done across the world.
By ESTHER MCVEY
PUBLISHED: 08:33, Tue, Feb 23, 2021 | UPDATED: 11:44, Tue, Feb 23, 2021
So much has happened since then. More than 121,000 people have lost their lives with Covid in our country, with nearly 2.5 million losses worldwide. We have seen unprecedented restrictions on our freedoms that we once took for granted. Businesses built up over many years have been brought to their knees. People have lost their jobs, the country has racked up eye-watering debts, children have been deprived of a proper education and yet at the same time we've seen heroic frontline NHS staff to supermarket workers keeping the country going.
Along with all of this, we have witnessed a wonderful and widespread community spirit, a kindness for one another embodied by the late, great Captain Sir Tom Moore.
It is absolutely essential that we mark this first anniversary - along with subsequent anniversaries - with a national community day of reflection and reawakening.
We should remember those who have lost their lives, those who have sacrificed so much and for whom nothing will ever be the same again, as well as celebrating those national and local heroes who have done so much to help others throughout this pandemic.
And we should also salute those who developed the vaccine - our path out of this living nightmare.
I have been working with many brilliant people across different sectors to organise an anniversary commemoration.
Amazing names from TV, sport, and showbiz will be getting involved, and we want everyone to be part of it sending in their photos and videos of key moments from the last year and how they would like to be spending their March 23.
Our website is 23march.co.uk - so please, sign up for updates about activities on the day and see how you can share your acts of community kindness, however big or small.
Whether it involved shopping, repairing a fence or baking a pie for your next-door neighbour, we will be posting them to commemorate this special day.
The PM's announcement yesterday, revealed few restrictions will have been lifted by March 23 this year.
But we mustn't let the date pass without a proper day of reflection for what has been lost, to thank those who have done so much across the country - and to make sure we take any steps necessary to ensure our precious freedoms are not taken from us again.