Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, which is treated like a holiday with the day off from school and everything. It was originally started to commemorate the veterans from WW1 but now encompasses all wars.
I really hate the TV news media sometimes. They were interviewing this old guy who survived some serious battles in WW2. He was telling the reporter who was interviewing him at the memorial at Victory Park that he had been badly wounded when a mortar shell exploded close to him causing him to lose an eye and nearly lose his leg. He said that he shook his fist at the enemy and said they wouldn’t get rid of him that easy. He went on to say that this day was very important to him, as he had lost his two brothers in the war. He then became overwhelmed and started to cry. And what did the cameraman do? He zoomed in for an extreme close up of this guy losing it. Assholes. Not cool.
My dad is a total war buff and is a big fan of WW2 aviation. He makes these amazing models of WW2 planes that are so excruciatingly detailed he even paints mud and oil splatters on them. It is pretty cool. I tease him about this sometimes, as he is the King of Tease and taught me well but his interest in this time in history is only natural result as he experienced war first hand.
My dad was born in London in 1930 and grew up during WW2. His house was bombed and they lost everything. Fortunately they were not home at the time. The neighbours were not so lucky and they all died in the explosion. An aerodome was close by so the area was a prime target. Dad saw all sorts of planes flying overhead and, like a lot of young boys, fell in love with it all. I am glad he got a love of aviation out of the experience opposed to sadness from all the bad and scary memories.
My grandfather, his dad, was too old to serve in the war but he was an engineer on the railway as well as part of the home guard. He had lived through WW1 as a teenager and his dad, my great grandfather, died fighting in that war. He was a very promising cricket player in his county and volunteered to fight even though he was too old to be conscripted. I can only imagine how my grandfather felt when WW2 came along well knowing what his son, my dad, might experience.
So today I thought about my cousin’s husband who is in Afghanistan right now. And I thought about war in general. I decided that I couldn’t even imagine what the whole experience was like. And that is the whole point. Those men and woman participated in the hellish experience of war so that I would only have to try to imagine it.