I just realized that it’s been an entire month since I last wrote on my blog. It hasn’t been that I haven’t had anything to say – that’s never really been a problem for me – but with home renos on the go, I haven’t had the time. I’m very sure you don’t want to hear about my cupboard cleaning extravaganza and twice daily moppings of my floor. Anyway, it struck me when I realized that my last post was October the 11th, that tomorrow is Remembrance Day. What better time, though, to come back and say something than on Remembrance Day?
I’ve been horribly remiss this year. I haven’t even bought a poppy. So I’m hoping I can redeem myself through a few words. Since the weather will be nice tomorrow, I may even take the kids to the ceremonies here in Ottawa which are always beautiful and heartbreakingly solemn at the same time. I think the thing that strikes me the most at the ceremonies are the dwindling numbers of veterans. Those who fought in WWII and are still alive are now in their late 80’s, most of them. It becomes increasingly difficult for them to attend. To see them marching slowly toward the cenotaph, the pain of memories from long ago in their eyes, brings so many emotions to the surface. Without them there it will be…different.
I think it is a day that is going to become more and more difficult to mark as time passes. My parents’ generation lived through the war. Some of their parents fought in it. To them it was real. My generation had the advantage of hearing the tales of war first hand, from survivors. We could see their emotion, feel their fear, and rejoice in their victory. To us it was history, but recent history. But for my children, it will be wars of last century, fought by people who are gone or almost all gone. I wonder then, how we can instill in the next generation the same sense of respect that was and is felt by their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents on Nov. 11th?
I suppose we can if we continue to tell the stories and sing the songs. Please take a moment and have a listen – for Remembrance Day.
The Green Fields of France – John McDermitt