Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh - Is That Today?

I remember as a child that Remembrance Day was a very special day. I remember that none of the stores were open. Only the corner store was open & they were only allowed to sell milk and bread. It seemed second in importance only to Christmas. Now, like so many of our times of reflection, it is just another excuse to get some shopping done.

I watched the services this morning on tv as I do every year - and yes, I paused for a moment of silence at 11 - and I was once again struck by the faces of those that we hope to honor through our remembrance. They stand so resolute as if they are right there in the trenches all over again.

I honestly don't think that we can ever hope to grasp the horror of war. Try as they might, Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's List are still just depictions. We eat popcorn while we cringe at what we see. But when it's over, we just turn them off and move on to the next thing. We don't carry it with us.

Then I see those young soldiers that are facing a new reality of war and again, my mind cannot wrap around what it must be like to be a soldier who leaves his or her family not knowing if this might be the last time. What is it like to be the husband or wife that is left behind with an empty spot at the table each night? What is it like to be the child who only gets glimpses of Mommy or Daddy and tries to comprehend why they have to keep going away? When will you be home to stay?

I remember the school services as a child - listening to a trumpeter come in to play The Last Post, the reading of In Flander's Fields, the poppy pins, the moment of silence.

Stuart Maclean says it best: "We have tried, but we haven't tried hard enough. We have been busy with other business, though I can't for the life of me remember what it was."

So I hope that in the midst of everything else that happens today that you take time to pause and reflect. It truly is the least we can do to honor those who have paid a price that we will never understand. I say thank-you to those who, at such a young age, selflessly gave of yourself so that I might be free.