Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Lest We Forget
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When I was a little girl we loved to here stories about my Grandad's experiences serving as a pilot in World War Two. The one often retold was his final flight in S for Sugar and how it was shot down over occupied France. While he was thankful to survive, I know it always bothered him that he was the sole survivor. He was able to parachute out of the disintegrating plane and somehow made it safely down in the middle of a potato field. (We often teased him later that this is why he loved potatoes so much.) My Grandfather spoke very little french, but with the little bit that he had learned in high school he was able to communicate with the Farmer. They courageously kept him hidden at their farm for several months until they were able to acquire some forged documents to smuggle him back out of the area. My Grandfather was one of the lucky ones, he came home, married had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He lived a long productive life and passed a few years ago.
It wasn't until I grew up that I realized that it was never my Grandfather that told this harrowing story, it was always recounted by my Gran or my Dad. Even my Mom could tell the story. I of course have told my own children about my Grandfather and the men that sacrificed their lives so that we could have a better present. In fact my daughter told the story of my Grandad (her Great Grandfather of course) for an important school speech competition. Not only did my Grandfather not retell this story, he hardly talked about the war at all. He would sometimes reluctanly talk about his plane S for Sugar and the men that were with him that fateful day.
The one thing that seemed most important to my Grandad is that no one forget the men who had fallen or the sacrifices so many made. Every year my Grandad dressed in his uniform and attended the city's Remembrance Day services. He never missed a year, even the year that he was diagnosed with cancer and he was thin as a rail from the chemo treatments. I admire my Grandad's steadfastness in keeping the memory alive and I feel that I need to do my part in keeping his story alive for my children. I want them to know how lucky we are to live in a Country where we can have our own opinion and that we can feel safe from violence. I miss my Grandad terribly and it is at this time of year that I think of him the most.
Above I have posted a Freebie mini kit that I created in honour of my Grandfather and to all veterans all over the world.