I am often asked about my thoughts about Remembrance Day.
I don’t often share because everyone has a story, and many have gone through more than I could imagine.
This year I thought I would share a story: after returning to Canada from a tour, a unit had arranged for families to be united with their soldiers at the terminal on the Trenton airbase.
There were emotional and tear-filled reunions going on everywhere, and a friend had arranged to meet his wife and 5-year-old daughter on the grass outside the building.
When his daughter sighted her dad, she broke away from her Mom and ran across the grass to her Dad.
As soon as this happened, the Dad started screaming and swearing at the little girl to stop and get back.
Certainly not the reunion anyone expected.
Both Dad & daughter were traumatized.
You need to understand that the father had spent months soldiering in a place full of IEDs, mines & booby traps. IEDs are hard to place on pavement & sidewalks, so the ‘bad guys’ would place them in grass and foliage.
So a grassy expanse was something to be feared.
The dad was reacting instinctively to saving his daughter’s instinctive reaction to seeing her Dad for the first time in over six months.
This I think about on Remembrance Day.
For many years, and as a young man, Remembrance Day was a day to remember all of those who died serving our country and being honest, it was dress uniforms, marching through the streets and drinking with new and old comrades in a legion somewhere.
During the last years, Remembrance Day has come to mean something different to me. I can’t help but think of the thousands of soldiers who returned from war with life-altering, debilitating wounds, both seen and unseen.
I think of those who came home in a box or came home irreparably changed, and I think of their friends and families.
I think of returning soldiers are suffering from some mental health issues, from depression to full-blown PTSD.
Diseases just as deadly as any sniper.
There are failed relationships, tangled finances and legal problems, all caused or exacerbated by the effects of war.
There are homeless veterans and young men & women in challenging domestic situations. Or those who are trying desperately to fit into a civilian workplace where the biggest crisis is the wrong flavour of the coffee.
So, on Remembrance Day, I think of the innocents. Those caught in a fight that isn’t of their making: women, elderly and children who become causalities and are often subject to the cruelty of the evilest acts perpetuated by the evilest bastards on earth.
I think of these soldiers not mentioned on memorials wall or honoured in any fashion, as they are most certainly casualties of war.
I am saddened to think of what those lost, ruined, and wasted lives might have had a chance to accomplish
I think of my friend and his daughter.