Dear Dad: A remembrance day remembrance

Dad:

Hey – it’s remembrance day.  I always wondered why, after serving in Korea, and south-east Asia, the minute of silence meant little to you. You spoke so little of your experiences as if these were memories you didn’t wish to share. You didn’t wear or sell poppies, join the Legion, act militarily at home. Your sense of humour remained as that of Hawkeye from MASH – irreverent, warped, dark.

So, here it is Remembrance Day. I post again “In Flanders Fields,” mention chemical war fare, and McCrae’s death due to disease in France. I’ve written more detailed posts, or talked of my reasons for remembering. Why the First World War draws me more than others. Buying a blue poppy in honour of Korean war vets like yourself.

I remember so clearly your commentary during the minute of silence – the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. Armistice Day. Remembrance Day. Veterans Day.  I never asked why you didn’t hold with the minute of silence though you grudgingly watched the ceremonies on television. Back in the days when Canada shut down on November 11 to remember.

This evening, we realized there were not veterans selling poppies this year. No Flanders Fields remembrance. No acknowledgement of all that has been lost. Yes, in the states, Memorial Day is their remembrance day. Things slow down to a holiday for parades and bbqs. Ceremonies. Today – as if it were any other day. So sad. Movies, radio and television spots on veterans, but no holiday here, or in Canada. But here, no poppies. Like no minute of silence for you.

You remain a part of my life everyday. You know that. You watched the World Series with me. You wished me happy birthday. I miss our graveside conversations. It’s not the same talking to the air, as talking to your gravestone. I miss you. Those 19 years would have been so different, I think, if you had stayed around. But, when it’s your time . . .

Guess I will always wonder why you didn’t pause, like I did at 11:00 am this morning, to remember. Maybe having been in your hells of war, you wanted to forget.

(Our Writing 101 assignment was to write a letter – one suggestion being to someone who couldn’t write back. As it is Veteran’s Day, a letter to my father, a career solider, seemed the most appropriate. This was written, through some tears, as a free write. No editing. No correcting. Just me writing to my dad. The way I’d talk to him in the cemetery. I’m too far away now to visit his grave; I would have been there today otherwise.)

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11 thoughts on “Dear Dad: A remembrance day remembrance

  1. J Lapis November 12, 2015 / 4:08 am

    The veterans used to give out paper poppies outside our Safeway, but don’t anymore–who knows why. I used to go up so I could hug the vets, and get the poppies–which I had saved somewhere… Nice post, tribute letter to your Dad–he sounds wonderful.

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    • tale weaver/ing November 12, 2015 / 1:10 pm

      Perhaps there aren’t enough of the veterans of the pre-Viet Nam era left to see poppies. Membership in the Legion Halls had to be extended to non-veterans and non-forces as numbers dwindled.
      My Dad was unique. I’ve told some stories about him on the blog. As we spoke before, we re-connected during the last years of his life. Just like when I was very young and we went for our famous Karmen Ghia sports car rides. I’d like to think I’m more like him than my mother, but years as a caregiver of my mother has left it’s scars.

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      • J Lapis November 12, 2015 / 5:26 pm

        I’m glad you have memories of famous car rides–but so sorry for the scars left from looking after your mom. Hard to know what to say–my dad/car rides were not pleasant, just an opportunity for him to hold me captive as he informed me what my thoughts, interests and life plan Would Be–a mobile lecture, no response from me required except a nod of agreement…

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        • tale weaver/ing November 12, 2015 / 11:14 pm

          That is a shame. Children should be allowed to be children. When that is taken away, it is so unfair.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. luckyjc007 November 12, 2015 / 1:48 am

    Nice post..thanks for sharing a part of your life.

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    • tale weaver/ing November 12, 2015 / 1:11 pm

      You are most welcome.
      This is the time of year when I think of my father and his family in terms of the costs of war. Uncle MIA in WW1, an cousin probably “shell-shocked,” and his service too.

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  3. Sheri November 11, 2015 / 11:10 pm

    I can only imagine the things my father was reminded of, every day, by the scars on his hands. My dad was stoic and silent about similar things to your father as well. I remember the irreverrent MASH humor. I remember being a small child, “Daddy, why do you have scars on your hands?” “It’s nothing.” I remember, after he died in 2000, finding the letter he wrote from the hospital to his best friend. He had been shot down over the Pacific, floating for days, thinking of the loved ones he’d never see, the doctor he’d never become. But he did all those things…I had no idea. Maybe it’s the same with your dad. We can speak of PTSD now, but they couldn’t then.

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    • tale weaver/ing November 12, 2015 / 12:23 am

      Your father must have suffered so much, the scars a physical reminder of the costs of war. Finding the letter must have been incredibly emotional.
      The Korean War was the forgotten war. Veterans were often abandoned by the governments that sent them off to war. The wars in South-East Asia very much the same.
      Only now, as you say, do we speak of PTSD, remember veterans, force the government to take a more active role.

      I have some WW1 items from my Dad’s family. When that war started, his mother was 13. Two of her brothers served in France. One came home after 4 years never the same, the body of the other was never found.
      Then I think of all the wars still going on. The civilian costs. Lives shattered.
      I find these days very hard: so much pain and it seems like wars shall be forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Melinda Kucsera November 11, 2015 / 11:07 pm

    poignant and beautiful, thank you for the window you opened :)

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    • phylor November 12, 2015 / 12:24 am

      Thank you for your kind comment. Today seemed the proper day to write my dad with that question.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melinda Kucsera November 12, 2015 / 12:26 am

        You’re welcome. It certainly was and it gave me food for thought.

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