Remembrance Day always holds a bit of a special place in my heart. It’s a day dedicated to the memory of armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. It’s always been special to me, even during my childhood, by virtue of my grandfather being a veteran of World War II. Given that this is the first year that I am a veteran myself, the day takes a bit of a deeper meaning. I could into detail about the origins of this day, including how it was established by King George V after World War I in 1919. But instead, I really much rather focus on my grandfather…
My grandfather was old school. He worked all the trades, including carpentry and blacksmithing. He worked for the local paper mill, back home in Dalhousie, New Brunswick. He ironically met my grandmother when he was arranged to marry her sister. Obviously, things didn’t go as planned. They got married shortly before my grandfather shipped out to Europe during World War II. When he returned home, he and my grandmother grew a large family that included seven children, one of which is my mother.
I grew up listening to my grandfather’s stories about the war. He was never shy to provide explicit detail despite my age, claiming that shielding me from the realities of what freedom cost was foolish and that I deserved to know what it took to keep the world free from tyranny. I sat quietly and listened to his stories while he worked the wood he used to build furniture, which he sold. His wooden swings and lawn chairs can still be seen here and there in the North Shore area of New Brunswick. I have no words for the love and admiration I have for that man.
In some ways, a lot of ways, my grandfather was the inspiration for the direction my life has taken. Wanting to help and protect others became an ambition for me, thanks to the stories and the bravery instilled in me by his example. That’s why this day is important. More than just an excuse to wear a poppy or attend a public ceremony, we get to enjoy many of the freedoms we have today, thanks to brave individuals like my grandfather.
Sadly, my grandfather passed away in 2013. But his example and influence lives on in me, as I’m sure it does with the others in our family. To my Canadian readers, takes time to observe this day. Stay away from Christmas decorations and other social focus and remember those who left their families and loved ones behind to go keep the world safe. War is never a good thing. But if and when it happens, we can all sleep a little easier knowing that men like my grandfather fought to end it. ☯️