My Grandfather passed away 22 years ago this past August. I was due to have my son in November. My family laughed at me when I walked into my Grandparent’s house because I looked like I had swallowed a beach ball. My Great Aunt made me stand sideways so she could get a picture!
I was so big I had trouble reaching the clutch in my car as I made the hour-long drive home to say good-bye. As we gathered together, we knew it was for the best. He had struggled with his war injuries for as long as I could remember and now had cancer.
Grandpa was never the same after the war. How could he be? He watched his entire platoon die, he watched my grandmother’s brother die. His injuries were extensive, but he survived to come home to his beautiful wife and two children.
He was one of the lucky ones.
My son never met my grandfather, but over the years I took every opportunity to use teachable moments to share with him about the true meaning of war and its consequences. I shared stories with him and impressed upon him the importance of Remembrance Day. We’ve talked about what it means to our family and what it means to our nation.
Grandpa followed the footsteps of his father and uncles when he joined the war and always impressed on me to stand up for what I believed in and never, ever to set aside my principles. He believed in what he had fought for and never regretted the sacrifices that he made.
I’ve watched documentaries with my son over the years, and we are always shocked by how young the soldiers were. That took courage. As a mother of a young man eligible for the draft, if we had one, I couldn’t imagine what those mothers went through!
I am not ashamed of the tears I cry every Remembrance Day during the 2 minutes of silence. I am proud of the sacrifice my grandfather made so that we can live in freedom. I weep for the soldiers who never made it home. I cry for the parents who answered their door to receive the news that their loved one wouldn’t be coming home. I grieve for the widows and their children who will never know them. I cry for the victims of war, for the innocent children who suffer.
I am not ashamed of the tears I cry.
We have a family tradition where we thank a vet or an active duty soldier for their sacrifices and service. If we see one at a restaurant, we will buy them their meal. It’s the least we can do for all that they do for us!
Thank you Grandpa, I love you