Today is Rememberance Day in Canada (Veteran’s Day in America) and I always tend to think about my grandparents this time of year.
Though we have family who fought in both world wars, World War II stays with me the most. Maybe because both my grandfathers fought in the war, or maybe because the unthinkable acts that occurred still hold an impact on our lives today.
My dad’s parents both died many years ago, and I find I have many memories that come to me around Rememberance Day. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s probably since I was born, and she spent the end of her life locked away in her own mind, often thinking it was the war again. She grew up in Liverpool and lost her mum in the blitzes. She met my grandfather and they were married, she became one of many war brides who took a very long boat trip to Canada, eventually landing in Bonavista, Newfoundland.
My grandpa fought in the Queen’s Navy, holding a horrible job of shooting bodies floating in the water to sink them to their graves. It wasn’t until after he died that I found out he had been a prisoner of war in Africa. My dad often teases me about my tattoos, saying I should be careful as my grandfather got his first and only tattoo in the war, only to have it damaged soon after by shrapnel in an attack on the ship.
My mom’s father also fought in the war, holding an infantry position and taking part in the liberation of Holland. Much like my other grandfather, he does not talk much about the war, but has told me the story of his unit accidentally shooting a barn in the middle of the night several times.
I usually try to pull out my poppy mid-October because I think it’s important for us all to show our thanks, our gratitude, and our memories as often as possible. Braeden has been asking about the poppies as he sees them more and more, and so I’ve started to explain to him. He doesn’t really understand the concept of war which is a good thing. He’s not yet three and we’re lucky that he doesn’t really get the idea of war, let alone experience it.
We only have one day that is officially a day of rememberance, but I often think about WWII and think about the sacrifices that were made, the horrors endured. My biggest hope for my children, all children, is that they do not have to experience the same.