Last year, I wrote a Remembrance Day post on my personal blog about my maternal grandfather’s experience as a soldier in WWII. On a day like today, it’s worth another read… or just a read, if you’ve never seen it before.
Go ahead. Take a look. I’ll wait here.
Ok, welcome back.
When I asked my Mom if she had ever heard this story, she said no. She said that she actually couldn’t recall my grandfather ever talking about the war with anyone in her family.
This story has now become my best memory of my grandfather and I remain honoured that he chose to confide something so personal in me… something he had never confided in anyone else.
After he told me this story, he sat quietly at the dinner table. He was reflexive and thoughtful. After a while, he broke his silence, turned to me, and asked me the toughest question I have ever been asked:
Would you ever enlist in the Armed Forces?
I was completely caught off guard. If memory serves, I fumbled my way through the answer with a bunch of “times have changed Grandpa” because I didn’t know how to tell him that I don’t have the balls to do what he did for this country.
Let’s get a few things straight — my grandfather had a priest forge a birth certificate so he could enlist early. He and thousands of other Canadians boarded boats and planes and headed into an environment where men were being killed by the hundreds every day to fight for the preservation of our ideals and our way of life.
And let’s get one more thing straight — there are thousands of Canadians who still choose to fight for this cause on our behalf.
On one day of the year, we pause to remember. Why? Because this is literally the least we can do.
Lest we forget.