Sunday, November 11, 2007


"There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms"

-Dire Straits

Today is Remembrance Day. At the 11th hour of this 11th day of the 11th month, my children actually came into the kitchen with me to listen to the radio while a brief reading of the poem "In Flanders Fields" came on the airwaves. They were silent, my usually incessantly chatty kids, listening to the words and the accompanying music.

My father-in-law was in WWII. He's the only person I have ever personally known who was a soldier. He was a navigator on a navy ship, hunting down German submarines. He had lied about his age to get enlisted. I think a lot of young men did that back then. I just can't imagine going to war at such a young age.

I didn't have a chance to get to know my father-in-law very well. He passed away during the very early part of my relationship with Ian. We were just dating, and Ian's Dad had just been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. So I did not know him very long, didn't spend much time with him before he died as he was sick. I only got to know him from the way that Ian would talk about him, the stories that were told about him by my mother-in-law and Ian's siblings. I could tell that he was a wonderful man, father and grandfather even from that short time. Unfortunately he didn't live to see us get married, or to see his additional grandchildren that came along so many years later.

There are reminders of him in our home. Including a picture of his naval ship which hangs proudly in this study. And his helmet, the one from WWII, with his name etched into the metal. L is fascinated with it and tells his friends proudly that his Grandpa was a soldier in the war. He says that with a lot of reverence. Which is the way it should be, for any and all soldiers who have ever fought for liberty, or who are now keeping the peace. But especially for the brave Grandpa that he never got the chance to know.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Karen. My Dad and Dick have both been on my mind the past few days.

Beck said...

Lovely post. There were lots of fragile old soldiers at the service today and it was hard to imagine them young and terrified and far away from home...

Family Adventure said...

People were insanely brave back then. I don't know what would make a minor do what so many did at that time.
I've got some connection with both wars, being Scandinavian. Very sad memories.


Badness Jones said...

That's a beautiful post. It's wonderful that your children can be proud of their grandfather, even though they didn't get to meet him.

Curiosity.Killer said...

That's beautiful, Karen.

another good thing said...

nice for you to remind us of the brave ones... I have such a bad taste in my mouth about war that I can only feel anger, not sorrow when soldiers are mentioned

Kellan said...

A beautiful post and nice tribute to a special grandfather. Thanks for sharing this. Take care.

J at said...

Wonderful remembrance. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Shawna said...

What a perfect post. I love that your children understand the importance of Veteran's Day. More parents should teach their children to remember and revere those that fought for us.


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