Friday, November 13, 2015

Honour Tributes...Given Posthumously

Mankind must put an end to war...before
war puts an end to mankind. (John F. Kennedy)

Older men declare war; but it is the youth
that must fight and die. (Herbert Hoover)

I believe conscription is unjust, immoral and a denial of human rights.
(Tony McFarland)

My Son
(This tribute, courtesy of Sydney)

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

After about a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, “Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day...and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you...and your love for art.” The young man held out this package. “I know this isn't much. I am not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.”The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. “Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift.”

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home, he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered...excited to see the great paintings, having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.
On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “We will start the bidding with this picture of 'The Son'. Who will bid for this picture?” There was silence...

Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.”
But the auctioneer persisted, “Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?” Another voice angrily stated, “We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh's, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!” But still, the auctioneer continued, “The Son! The Son! Who'll take The Son?” Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. “I'll give $10 for the painting.” Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. “We have $10...who will bid $20?” No response...a voice from the rear said, “Give it to the bidder for $10. Let's see the 'masters' of art!”

The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of The Son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. Then the auctioneer pounded his gavel...“Going once, twice...SOLD for $10.” A man sitting in the second row now shouted, “Now, let's get on with the collection! That's why we're here!” The auctioneer laid down his gavel, “I'm sorry, the auction is over.”

What about the paintings?” “I am sorry,” stated the auctioneer, “when I was called to conduct the auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of 'The Son' would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate...including the paintings. The man who took 'The Son' gets everything. The auction is ended and closed.”
God gave his son over 2,000 years ago to die on the Cross.
Much like the auctioneer, His message today is:
'The Son, The Son, who'll take The Son?'
(Because, you see, whoever takes The Son, gets everything.)

For God so loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son;
Who so ever believeth in Him, shall have eternal life...
That's Love...John 3:16.

Swedish Ceremony Gives Closure to Family of Hamilton 'Hero Pilot'

Mark McNeil of The Hamilton Spectator published this story Sept. 26, 2015:
A heart-warming colour photo of the two sisters holding a heart-shaped wreath
to place on ocean waters off Sweden's coast.

More than 100 people came out in a tiny Swedish coastal hamlet to commemorate a Second World War bomber pilot from Hamilton who died 'a hero' 70 years ago. The September 19th ceremony in Torso in the southern part of the Scandinavian country honoured 21-year old William Blake, who died on April 23, 1944 after ordering his crew to parachute from his severely damaged 'Halifax plane.' Then he steered the bomber away from land, so as not to injure civilians below, crashing into the sea.

At the ceremony, one person recalled seeing the distressed bomber flying very close to the ground. “He talked about standing on the roof of a building at the time and was blown by the intense turbulence,” said Jennifer Blake, a niece of the pilot who travelled to Sweden to attend the ceremony. “It was a weekend I will never forget. It changes you,” Blake said after returning to Canada. She said the host of the ceremony, Jan Landin, a retired captain in the Swedish Air Force, told the story of an airman's jacket button that had been kept all these years. “After hearing the sound of a horrible crash,”he said in a transcript of his speech, “a local boy on a bicycle came upon an airman who was walking out of a forested area. The airman was one of the six who parachuted to safety...who asked the boy if he was in
Sweden, which the young man confirmed. The airman wanted to give him his flashlight, but the young man was afraid to take it. Then the airman gave him a button...and this is the one (showing it to the crowd). In the button, there is a compass. The young man took him to a house where he knew the family had a telephone.”

William Blake and his crew were on a mission to drop mines in the waters near the coast of German-occupied Norway when they came under enemy fire. After being hit, Blake managed to steer the plane away, knowing it was too severely damaged to return to England...and set course for Sweden.

A few weeks before the ceremony, divers confirmed the location of the crash. And, as part of the ceremony, Jennifer Blake, her sister Christine Watson...with their husbands and niece Carolyn Baker...were taken to the spot on the water where they laid a wreath. Baker used her smartphone and through Skype, was able to send real-time-video images of the ceremony to William Blake's only surviving brother, Richard, 96, who now lives in Guelph, Ontario...who commented, “It was very moving to see the actual spot in the water and to think two of my daughters were there placing a wreath on the water to commemorate William. It brought 'closure' to me.”

Merle Baird-Kerr...written November 1, 2015
To comment...email  inezkate@gmail.com or mbairdkerr@cogeco.ca

2 comments:

  1. I give honour to you Merle for posting these.
    Very moving and sinks deep into the heart and soul of others.
    Sherrie

    ReplyDelete
  2. When I am touched by such renderings, I'm confident that others will be 'moved' with similar sentiments. That a local experience came to light, suddenly brought WWII Remembrance to reality!
    Thanks, Sherrie for your insight.

    ReplyDelete