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.)