Remembrance Day

I’m bad and didn’t write anything on Nov 11th. I worked at the grocery store, and then went out for dinner and dancing with friends. It was a good day.

Most of my flist knows that my brother is in Canada’s Armed Forces. He is currently stationed in Shilo, Manitoba with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI). He’s done two tours of duty in Afghanistan, and at 26 is a war veteran.

One of my aunts is a vice principal at a high school out in High River, Alberta. She was asked by the committee arranging Remembrance Day services at the school if either my grandmother, my dad, or even my brother could write something that could be read at the services, to show the effect that being in Afghanistan has had on a person and a family.

Sean (my brother), was able to go to Alberta and attend the services in person. My dad wrote a letter to my brother, to be read at the assemblies, about how proud we are of him for doing what he’s done, and how glad we are that he is safe, and how conflicted we’ve felt about being happy to know that he’s alive while there are other families who have lost a son, a brother, a father, a sister, a wife, a husband.

According to my aunt’s email, Sean did really well. He spoke well, he answered questions so that both the kids and the adults understood what he was saying. He told them that no matter what your political beliefs, support the soldiers. That is the one thing that they need, and to know that they are supported by everyone back home, makes being so far from home a little more bearable.

The United Church Minister (where my aunts and grandmother live) was at the first of the two services, and asked Sean to attend the service that the church was planning on the 11th. Sean sat on stage with the other speakers, and all the vets got a standing ovation. After Sean spoke, he received one as well.

Rereading the letter my dad wrote to my brother still makes me cry, and I’ve read it more than once since first reading it on Friday.

He is my little brother. While he can be a dork sometimes, as little brothers are prone to be, I am so proud of him. I am overjoyed he is home, safe. I am positive that I will never, ever know or understand all of the things he’s seen and done, or that I will ever be all the places he’s been.

I am proud of him.

No matter where you are or what your political beliefs are, support your troops in the armed forces. In this age of technology, you can show your support and have it received immediately, and that is huge for the men and women who are in Afghanistan and Iraq and other places of conflict the world over.

My paternal grandfather fought in the WW2. He like so many, lied about his age and signed up at 16 – at 6’5”, he could look 18. He made it home, and I am a result of that which he fought for.

So many didn’t make it home, and still, many are dying overseas, fighting for others whom they’ve never met and will never meet.

Support them, love them. Tell them.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– Lt. Col. Dr. John McCrae