Keep calm and carry on

Keep calm and carry on

29 May 2019
‘Continue in the grace of God.’

In the days leading up to World War II, the British government commissioned a series of posters. The idea was to capture encouraging slogans and distribute them throughout the country. Capital letters in a distinct typeface were used, and a simple two-colour format selected. The only graphic was the crown of King George VI. The first poster was distributed in September of 1939: YOUR COURAGE. YOUR CHEERFULNESS. YOUR RESOLUTION WILL BRING US VICTORY. Soon thereafter a second poster was produced: FREEDOM IS IN PERIL. DEFEND IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT. These two posters appeared on railway platforms and in pubs, shops, and restaurants. A third poster was created but it was never distributed. More than 2.5 million copies were printed yet never seen until nearly sixty years later, when a bookshop owner in north-east England discovered one in a box of old books he had purchased at an auction. It read: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. It bore the same crown and style of the first two posters. It was never released to the public, however, but held in reserve for an extreme crisis, such as invasion by Germany. The bookshop owner framed it and hung it on the wall. It became so popular that the bookshop began producing identical images of the original design on coffee mugs, postcards, and posters. It’s the same message Paul and Barnabas brought to the first Christians in Antioch: ‘Continue in the grace of God.’ Or in other words, keep calm and carry on!

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Copyright © Bob and Debby Gass. Used by permission.