All of my grandparents were involved in the war. They weren’t the type to tell their war stories. In fact, as their grandchild, I didn’t even know anything about it…blissfully ignorant. My grandfathers passed, and the stories came out…through notes and uniforms left behind. A fascinating history, my family history. My grandmothers can still remember.
I remember sitting in the gymnasium as a young kid, waiting for the assembly to start on November 11th. An equally young child walked up to the podium in total silence and began to read “In Flanders Fields“. As they struggled through the poem, I remember getting very emotional. This was a big deal…and I was beginning to understand. But I knew there’s no way I could ever REALLY get it.
I spent some years in Halifax at Dalhousie University. I decided to go to a Veteran’s Memorial one year, where a ceremony was being held on Remembrance Day. I sat next to an old woman who was impeccably dressed. As the ceremony went on, she began to cry, and then couldn’t stop. Clearly this day meant more to her than I would ever know. Whether she knew someone who had passed or remembered being involved…she was devastated. She remembered.
Years later, I met my (now) husband and he joined the military. We moved to Petawawa and settled in. The war in Afghanistan was ongoing, and we met people who had been there (among other places) and people who were planning to go…my husband, also planned to go. We found out we were pregnant, and he didn’t end up going on tour…and I was able to keep him home for years (I just kept having babies).
Even though my husband was spared the horrors of war, we know people that have seen the unimaginable. We know people that were forever damaged, physically, emotionally. We know people that didn’t make it home. As a civilian that will never go to war, I know I will never REALLY understand. And that’s ok. I will honour.
Remembrance Day isn’t about having a direct connection to a war veteran or military member. It’s about honouring the people who sacrificed their time, their dreams, their careers, their families, and their lives…for us. For this country. For people they don’t know and will never know. We try to understand.
With the recent happenings in St.-Jean-Sur-Richelieu and our Nation’s Capital, Remembrance Day has been brought to the forefront. These men, their families, they deserve to be honoured by this country.
Tomorrow, whether you’re at home, at work, at a ceremony…relish that moment of silence. Remember. Honour. Have respect for these people who truly deserve our attention.