Friday, November 11, 2005

The Poppy Remembers...Rememberance Day 2005, The Year of the Veteran

Every year on November 11, I remember. I think every Canadian has their own personal stories, their own special person, memory or family member they think of. For me, I think of my great uncle who went to war to fight for our freedom and never, ever came home. No one knows what happened to him. My family was told that he was KIA then they thought he may be a POW and then they were told that no one knew what really happened to him. He is gone and I always wonder what happened to him. What did he go through? What did he endure? What was his fate?

I think 2 of my grandfathers were in the war as well. I do know one was for sure. He was a supply truck driver on the front lines of the war. His name was Peaches. Whatever he saw during the war stayed his private secret and, perhaps, his private hell. He never talked about it, ever. It hurt him too much. He died a few years ago never telling any of us about it and never once mentioning to us that he had even been in the war.

Their eyes have seen such terrible, terrible things. How do you forget that? How can we forget them? The sacrifices these men and women made and continue to make for us. We can't just say that the sacrifices were made during the war and ended at that. Their lives were forever changed, forever scarred by what they saw, what they lived through, what they lost... It is hard not to cry when I look into the eyes of a veteran because I see pain in them and I see something that there is no way for me to explain. Look into their eyes and you will see a life lived that we can not fathom. Lives of soldiers continue to be changed today. While watching the Remeberance Day Service on tv today we saw Canadian soldiers (peacekeepers) holding their own service in Afghanistan, a powerful, powerful picture for me.

The grave of the unknown soldier sends shivers down my spine and fills my eyes with tears. Who is he? What did he go through? His family... A monument has been built and at 11:00 today the sun shone on the unknown solier's tombstone and framed it in a beautiful window of light. I bawled...

The bagpipes playing, the bugle...the 21 gun salute...this morning I sat, glued to my television set an emotional, bawling wreck. I can't find the words to express what I feel in my heart on Remeberance Day. Gratitude is not enough. These men and women are my heroes. What they did for you and me so selfless...I am speechless. I absolutely do not know what to say to these people. Thank you seems so insignificant but thank you. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

We watched the veterans parade as well and watching these men and women marching to the applause of 25000 people was...again, speechless. The announcers said that there are 5 known veterans still alive from World War One. Wow! What I would give to talk to some of these people, to catch a glimpse of what their lives have been...

When I was in grade 9 I wrote a poem for the poetry contest for Remeberance Day. I won first place at my school, for the region and I got 3 in Provincials. I don't have a copy of this poem. I gave my only copy to them and I am hoping to try to find it. I may contact the Royal Canadian Legion to see if they still have a copy or not. It was called The Poppy Remembers.

We must never forget what the men and women of past years have done for us and what the men and women of today continue to do to protect our freedom. Whether you,personally agree with war or not, these people are still sacrificing their lives for us everyday to ensure our safety and our freedom.


tanby said...

very powerful. and yes i too remember that poem you wrote.

Candice said...

Oh that was wonderful! My own father was in vietnam and he never,never talks about it. My grandfather before was a flying tiger. My husband was in the military, but never saw action, as they say. But now he works as a paramedic, and carries all of the everyday violence he sees around on his shoulders.