Saturday, November 11, 2006
Some rambling thoughts on Remembrance Day...
(click to see larger)
This is not a political day for me - not a day to debate current or past conflicts or to argue about how we can reach peace in this generation. While I know most war casualties in the past 100 years were civilian (and care deeply about that) - today is the day I stand with the soldiers. It's also a day when I think of boys the age of my son Ryan (mostly boys, in the past at least).
When my father was a Spitfire pilot over Normandy with RCAF 443 Squadron in World War II, he was one of 24 Canadian pilots in the Squadron. Several were boyhood friends. The day he shot down his first German plane, he was onl 20. On D-Day itself, only one of the 24 men he flew with was 21 years old. About one year later, twelve of them were dead. That shaped my father in ways that are profound and awful. (Web link on my dad)
Ryan (my son) is saving his money to travel to Thailand and New Zealand this winter - to explore, enjoy and learn about life. What a contrast.
Both of my grandfathers, Robert and Fred, were in the trenches in World War I. Robert was shot twice by snipers and Fred was gassed and spent a year recovering. They were little older than boys at the time.
Every dead soldier was somebody's little boy or girl. Many were someone's husband or wife and many were somone's dad or mom. Every life lost in battle is a wasted life.
In the 21st century, if we succeed at only one thing, let it be learning to resolve our conflicts without war.
P.S: you look like your dad.
Our history generates a desire to show respect and gratitude for the sacrifices of others, which shaped our own uniqueness and encourages us to make the most of our tomorrows. It reminds me also of my father, a pilot in WW2 and grandfather who fought in both the Boer War and World War 2.
I never grow tired of Laurence Binyons words.
"Nothing is certain, only the certain spring."
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them."
Best wishes and for the future: a poem I composed
The era of the terrorist gave fear a new way
Ruled out all compassion for military sway
Speak of the devil beware Christian cloak
Time for renewal, cast off bitter yoke
Arise now new leaders with hearts restored
Justice to homeland and for all those abroad
God of non violence, your message to heed
Honour the fallen, troop’s home god -speed
... and I was going to say that I see plenty of your handsome dad in your son's face, which obviously came from you.
Ian, I think some of these men found it difficult to be comfortable outside the military after their experiences. Of course, my dad loved to fly too.
Maria - your latest post on Iraq is very good.
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