Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A day to remember

Today is Remembrance Day. We here in Alberta have the day off. I intend to spend the day at home, working mostly, but I've got a poppy pinned to my hoodie and will take the time to stand in silence at 11:00 a.m. It's important to me to do something to observe this day and to reflect on the sacrifices made. I've always been interested in the history of the two world wars, although I've had less opportunity to study them than I would like. I hope to take a trip to Normandy either this summer or next and visit the landing beaches, especially Juno. I expect I will probably cry.

Some of my family members fought in the wars. I believe my maternal great grandfather fought in the first world war. From what I understand he was in Ypres. I have also been told he survived a mustard gas attack. Perhaps not to surprisingly he had respiratory problems the rest of his life. My maternal grandfather fought in the second world war. I think he enlisted fairly early on (1940?) and miraculously survived. If memory serves he spent time in Italy, but I don't know much more about his service. Like many men who returned from the war, he didn't talk about his experience to his family. I don't know anything about my paternal side. I expect they were involved somehow, but I don't know how.

So, remember to remember. Even if it's just a few minutes. Our lives would be very different if the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives had just stayed home.

My grandfather Clark Eaton (right) and his brother, Jack at Trafalgar Square in London, England, 1942. (Sorry about the flash burst over my grandfather, but we don't have a scanner so I had to take a picture of the picture and was having light difficulties.)



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