Stories are powerful. They can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. They can change the way we look at people, so that those who we think are hovering in the background suddenly become the focal point.
Here is one man's story.
"I joined the Merchant Navy when I was fourteen, all the ships had boys the same age as me. Was a skivvy most of the time, used all over the ship, including in the laundry. Didn't have to iron or anything, just put everything through giant metal rollers - was an easier job in there. During crossings the weather could be bad, waves that were huge, I can't even describe them to you. If you were at crest of a wave you were so high you could see down into the funnel of another ship. I've been at the trough of the wave and could see the keel of an others ship looming above me. One minute you could see the other ships around you at sea, and the next they were no where to be seen.
I bought myself a uniform and put a star on the cuff of the sleeve. We didn't need to wear one but if I wore it on land it was a ticket into anywhere. People who see me dressed in it would just assume things about you, I was no officer, they weren't' to know. Doors would be opened, drinks given, every pub or club I got into when I had that uniform on. I've still got it."