Today, November 5th, is the start of Veteran's week; a time of commemorative events and ceremonies honouring our veterans, and then ending on Remembrance day. This week always holds a special place in my heart...my Dad was a veteran and my Mom is too. I am truly thankful , but my heart breaks a little more every time I think about what my Dad (and other veterans) went through..what he had to do, what he saw... My sister, The-Keeper-of-All-Things-Family, has not only all our family tree researched, recorded and stored, but she has my dad's Military History too. She has a copy of his Military record- a huge binder of every document that had anything to do with my dad's life in the army. She also has a collection of books written about the First Special Service Force that my Dad was a member of. My sister lent them to me this past week, and I have been rereading them. Unbelievable stories, brutal stories. And impossible to believe that my dad was one of these "Supercommandos". My dad was a gentle soul. Don't get me wrong, when we were kids he could give you that "look" that had us shaking in our shoes. But that was the extent of his fierceness... He was a quiet man, a man of few words. He had a difficult life as an only child and learned early on, to be careful what he said and to who. Maybe that life was what prepared him and got him through the horrors of war.
I have to say here that I don't believe in war. I believe that there has to be another way...but remembering the veterans on Remembrance day is not about what I believe. It's about what those men and women believed; what they did because they believed they were doing the right thing. Every time I think about my Dad's experience at Anzio beachhead in Italy, living in a foxhole for 99 consecutive days of battle under heavy artillery fire, I think, how? How does a person get through that? And how does a person get past that? Somehow, he did. And he went on to be there for his wife and all his children and his grandchildren. So on Remembrance Day, I remember and am thankful. Thankful to my Dad who, no doubt, gave up part of his soul to do what he believed to be the right thing, thankful to God for bringing him home, to my mom for doing her part and then helping my dad get through his, and to my sister who keeps our family story alive. Lest we forget.