Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day/Remembrance Day

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of November, the eleventh month.   We shall always remember. . . .

My favourite veteran is my son Ian.
Here his is in Iraq.  He was in one of the first units across the border from Kuwait into Iraq.  They went straight into the teeth of a sand storm.
All the photographs from that storm are red.  That's the colour the world gets in a sand storm.  Letters that Ian sent from that time were actually a bit gritty.  The sand that blows is a lot finer than ordinary sand.  It gets everywhere.   I'm glad he's far from it now. It was a nightmare time. I didn't sleep particularly well but I knew that it was always worse for my boy.  I was and still am ferociously proud of him.

I held Ian as a baby and prayed that he would never be sent to war.  I said that prayer for each of my three sons.  I prayed that they would never be soldiers.  It is the selfish prayer of a mother who only has the welfare of her boy at heart.  I don't care about what causes war, I just don't want my son in it!  I had said that prayer again when walking through the a US cemetery in Normandy near the landing beaches while looking at all the acres of white crosses. 

We were in France on a family vacation. As my children wandered through the grounds of the big cemetery at Omaha Beach, I thought of all the things a mother says to their child;  Eat your vegetables, say "thank you", elbows off the table, brush your teeth,  have you done your homework, don't put beans in your nose . . . . the thousands of things you say and do to make sure they get through childhood and into adulthood as healthy, polite, educated and productive citizens.   The men in these graves all had parents who bandaged knees, taught manners, gave music lessons to, cooked endless meals, and lectured until they were blue in the face only to have a telegram to say that with the deepest regret their son has died.   

We were lucky, my son came back.  He is now an actual war veteran, something I had never wanted for him. 

He's out of the army now and happily married to a lovely lovely woman.  Worrying that he is in mortal danger is now a thing of the past. 

Today is about remembering those who weren't so lucky. Your sacrifice is honoured.

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