Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lest we forget .... or NOT

Happy Remembrance Day to my fellow Canadians and anyone else who takes the time today to honor the bravery of all soldiers who fight for freedom and peace.

My father passed away 5 years ago and up to his last breath, was proud of who he represented, after 35 years with the Canadian Armed Forces. In our home, we were unable to forget.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae, author of the famous poem 'In Flanders Fields,' wrote the iconic work after the death of a friend during the second battle of Ypres in the spring of 1915. (National Archives of Canada/Canadian Press) SOURCE CBC Canada 

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of one of the most well known poems "In Flanders Field" by Lt-Col John McCrae.  

The poem is a poignant reminder to us.  If not for the bravery of many men and women, our lives would not be the same today.  It reminds us that those people were brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents who gave up their lives for others.

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
in Flanders Field.

In peacetime, we can all assume that the life of our military personnel are laid back, living day to day in simplicity and beyond the toils of having a corporate or artistic path.  Yet, those who are given glimpses, with guarded privacy and confidential, there were and are still many who are sent on missions or tasks to uphold our freedom.  They are not heralded as heroes and are obscure from the media eye that they too have done much to keep the evils of war at bay.  Our safety taken for granted.

These same men and women should also be honored because they are behind the scenes to keep us safe daily.  A day like Remembrance Day should also celebrate those who are never credited for what they encounter, what they do, in order to keep our lives safe and carefree.  

As the daughter of my father, I know he went away for days, weeks or even months on assignment.  It was the way of life, without questioning why.  Unlike those who drive into an office, maybe work late, and come home at the end of their day, our military is often tasked with going away to do exercises, safety missions and peacekeeping.  Some don't come home.  They are a statistic and number who don't come home.   Only the family and loved ones left to grieve.  While politicians, media may have a glimpse of their bravery, they often go unheralded for what they continue to represent.

I am not minimizing the cause or bravery that stemmed the poignant poem of "Flanders Field".  I just want to acknowledge and pay tribute that there are far more unofficial acts of bravery that go unnoticed, while we contently live our lives in the arrogance of safety.  Sometimes, there is a mention by name, but more often grouped in a category that doesn't distinguish them from what they contribute, or the sacrifices their families encounter.  

My skin crawls and the back of my hair stands up whenever someone wants to call me an "Army Brat".  I find it distasteful and disrespectful to what my father had done.  In his twilight years, he wanted to exorcise his memories and told us more stories of his life than we could possibly have known.  The burden my mother had, raising four kids, primarily alone.  My father's return quiet, unassuming and without fanfare.  It was a way of life.  Not anything I would have given up.  I owe it to my father, to celebrate his contribution to our peaceful world.

I love you dad.  I still miss you.  You have not been forgotten.