Writing Life

*Remembrance Day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month–this is what I remember:

War is suffering and death and its necessity is debatable, but what is not debatable is that the young men and young women who serve as soldiers are not adequately taken care of upon their return. This is true today and it was true 65 years ago, when Bill Mauldin asked civilians to understand the pain and difficulties of returning veterans.

I remember that Up Front by Bill Mauldin, a cartoonist who documented the ordinary soldier’s life, sustained me through an embattled childhood.

I can’t remember, because it was without my knowing, that while I was a grieving toddler, about 500 km away on the 11th day of the 11th month a baby was born. His eyes were blue. He grew up to be smart and tender and an awesome cook. He’s in the other room while I type this.

Before birth I must have signed up for some pretty grim shit in this life, paying it insufficient heed, dazzled no doubt by the prospect of my honey, who would show up in my life (this time) in 1995. That I remember, and every November 11th since. Happy Birthday A!

And a shout out to J, who was born on the same day of the same month some 20 years before A.
Happy Birthday J and thanks for teaching me cross-overs in skating.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month I ask us to honour peace and take care of those who have no idea what they give up when they go to war. I do not agree with Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan, but those who have enjoined our young men and women to serve there should be called to account that our soldiers do not receive the care they need upon their return. This should and must be redressed.

On this day I remember that I love and am loved and this should be extended to all the wounded, whether in body or in soul.

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7 thoughts on “*Remembrance Day”

  1. Beautiful sentiments, Lilian. I agree there is not enough aftercare of soldiers (this is a conversation we will be able to have with Pete from Couch Trip in a bit).

  2. Lilian, you express perfectly the thoughts a friend and I were sharing yesterday as we stood near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa. Let us honor all those who have been through wars and do whatever we can to see that they are treated with justice and respect and compassion. They deserve nothing less. Happy belated birthday to A.!

  3. Ah thanks guys! And I was just joining in the conversation to wish A a very happy belated birthday. I love that twist on Remembrance Day (which should be easy for me to remember since it is the day after my L’s birthday). Remembering can make a big difference (as can storytelling). Here’s to all those stories that can make a difference (and even those that can’t)!

  4. You’ve highlighted a very important point – we forget that it cannot be easy for our veteran’s to come home and process those experiences they’ve had. We owe them care and concern and the help they need to regain their equilibrium.

    I’m so glad that someone special came along to help even out the rough places in your life 🙂 Happy Birthday to him!

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