Saturday, November 9, 2013

Remembrance Day ... November 11, 2013



What Will You Contemplate?

(Excerpts from a writing by Paul Berton…
Editor-in-chief of The Hamilton Spectator)

When Hamiltonians gather at cenotaphs, at Legion Halls, at Community Centres, at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum or in the quiet solitude across the city to mark the event, what will we think about?  Each of us thinks of Remembrance Day differently.

Will Hamiltonians and Canadians think of their ancestors 
who served or current relatives and friends in the service?

Will we wonder why the killing persists almost a century 
after “the war to end all wars” ended and Remembrance Day was first recognized?

Will we think about war or peace?   
About Canadian soldiers at Vimy, Dieppe, Kapyong, Kosovo or Kandahar?

Will we think about winners and  losers?  Friends or enemies?  Life or death?

November 11...to be sure, is a time of
remembrance, reflections and appreciation.


Sack Lunches...A Good Samaritan Gesture

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat.  It was going to be a long flight.  “I'm glad I have a good book to read.  Perhaps I will get a short nap,” I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me.  I decided to start a conversation.

“Where are you headed?” I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.  “Petawawa.  We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Afghanistan.”

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars.  It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time.

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask  his buddy if he planned to buy lunch.  “No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack  lunch.  Probably it wouldn't be worth five bucks.  I'll wait until I get to base.”  His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers.  None were buying lunch.  I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill.  “Take a  lunch to all those soldiers.”  She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly.  Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me.  “My son was a soldier in Iraq; its almost like you're doing it for him.”

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated.  She stopped at my seat  and asked, “Which do you like best ~ beef or chicken?”  “Chicken,” I replied, wondering why she asked.  She turned and went to the front of the plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class.  “This is your thanks.”

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.  A man stopped me.  “I saw what you did.  I want to be part of it.  Here, take this.”  He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking for the aisle numbers as he walked.  I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane.  When he got to my row, he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, “I want to shake your hand.”  Quickly unfastening my seat belt, I stood and took the Captain's hand.  With a booming voice he said, “I was a soldier and I was a military pilot.  Once, someone bought me a lunch.  It was an act of kindness I never forgot.”  I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all the passengers.

Later, I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs.  A man who was seated about six rows in front of me, reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine.  He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed, I gathered my belongings  and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned and walked away without saying a word.  Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base.  I walked over to them and  handed them seventy-five dollars.  “It will take you some time to reach the base.  It will be about time for a sandwich.  God Bless You!”

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect  of their fellow  travelers.  As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return.  These soldiers were giving their all for our country.  I could only give them a couple meals.  It seemed so little!

(Author Unknown)

A Veteran is someone,
who at one point in his life, wrote a blank cheque
made payable to “The United States of America”
for an amount of “up to and including my life.”

That is Honour
and there are way too many people in this country
who no longer understand it … or even care!
(Author Unknown)

Merle Baird-Kerr...crafted February 17, 2013
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4 comments:

  1. My Granddaughters... because of me will wear their Poppy proudly on the left side closest to the heart. My girls are 7 and 3... a new generation.

    Sherrie & Isabella and Victoria

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Sherrie and Grand Daughters...the POPPY will always be a symbolic memory...it is our duty as parents/grand parents to instill the reasons for this "red November 11th symbol.

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  3. From a very supportive follower:
    "I am always glad to read your messages.There are some great ones that we receive."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for your comment. You have long been an inspiration to me...and selectively forward numerous topics conducive to my blog writings,

    ReplyDelete