Lest we forget

I’m grateful and privileged to be Canadian

photo credit Szymon Buhajczuk
photo credit Szymon Buhajczuk

As a little girl growing up in Winnipeg in the 60’s I remember frequent air raid drills.

In class we were instructed to get under our desks until the sirens were silent.Those exercises were as common and as normal as fire drills.

It wasn’t until my adult years that I understood it’s magnitude.

My grandpa was in the war

My grandpa, Angus Matheson returned home from WWI.

He was a big, robust farmer, with a gravelly voice exaggerated by hand rolled cigarettes and whisky.

I would often run my palm across his head, going against the prickly grain of his military buzz cut.

I’d spend every opportunity I could at my grandparent’s farm.

In the winter I would ask to sleep in the enclosed back porch. There was a big bed with a down comforter, the more you shook it, the bigger it got.  It would reach a height of about 3 feet. As a child it seemed like it almost touched the ceiling. I will never forget the deep sleeps I’d have in that frigid room cocooned in that comforter.

That is, until my grandpa’s memory would hijack his dreams.

Almost every night I’d be woken by grandpa yelling in his sleep.

He’d frantically and repeatedly call out “Mother!”, which is what he called my grandma.

I’d pull the comforter over my head and squeeze my eyes shut. I could hear the muffled voice of my grandmother comforting him. Sometimes he’d go back to sleep, other times he’d get up and have a drink and a smoke in an effort to get himself right, as right as he could I guess.

I can’t imagine the torment and terror my grandpa lived with.

Did he ever wish he never came home?

I was young, I never asked him about it. I wish I could now, but he’s been gone a very long time.

I hope he’s at peace.

11/11/1918, the end of WWI

I’m usually walking my dogs at Cherry Beach around 11:00 am, so on the eleventh day of the eleventh month I silently stand at the point and watch for the planes flying in the missing man formation.

This is my way of saying thank you.

Missing Man Formation In Honor Of Kojak

The poppy is a small, powerful symbol

Please, if you can, buy your poppy from a veteran rather than a box on a counter. I know they are getting harder to find as time marches on, but if you meet one, thank them and maybe give them a hug.

If you lose that poppy remember the lives lost.

If you prick your finger remember the blood spilled.

Above all, please take a few minutes out of your day to honor them with a moment of silence and reflection.

It’s because of the them we free.




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