Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

I've gone ever year to remembrance day services as far back as I remember, but it's become more important to me to go since losing my grandfather. Grandpa enlisted as a Rocky Mountain Ranger in his home town of Medicine Hat, Alberta shortly after WWII started in 1939, and spent the early part of the war on Alaska's Aleutian Islands to ward off the threat of a Japanese attack. I used to love looking at the few photos he had of that time in his life and his stories during the war. I hate that there are gaps in what I know of the story. He spent time there before being shipped overseas, where he ended up meeting my grandmother. My great grandfather was gassed with mustard gas during the first world war, and while I never met him it was always a connection to my history and a time to reflect on the impact of war.

I went this year with Dave, who was dressed like a relish tree* to the remembrance day services he was participating in.

Dave met up with his battalion, and I went with a friend of his' wife and their two incredible little girls to watch the service. I held their six year old through most of the service while the ten month old cooed and entertained herself with crackers in the stroller for most of the service.

I have to tell you how adorable these kids are. The six year old is a smart, talkative, insightful and considerate kid thoughtful and loved the attention from someone other than mum (who is such a cool parent herself). I had a blast talking to her, about school (we sang some of O Canada in French), about the service and pointing out Daddy in the parade of green, and Dave marching past. She helped hold the umbrella and played with her sister to make her laugh. I can't say enough good things about their kids and loved every second of it. My ovaries were aching when I strapped her in the car. Odd how I'm finding that if we got pregnant now I wouldn't be that worried. I mean financially we have a long way to go, but man do I love kids. I hope they let us babysit.

I'll leave you with this - the video Dave made for the school assembly which he's graciously let me upload to YouTube. See if you can pick the photo of my grandfather out from it. There are also shots of Sarajevo, where Dave did a tour with the UN Peacekeeping forces. I think he did a fantastic job of it.

*Canadian military uniforms have pixelated camouflage patterns, which look somewhat like relish, hence me referring to him in uniform as a relish tree. He'll even hold his arms up in the air to look more tree-like to amuse me. The more recent pictures show the uniform in its pixelated state.


Elaine said...

Thanks for posting the video that Dave made. It was excellent and very moving. I wasn't able to get to a ceremony today, cause I needed to sleep in between night shifts, but that was better and more meaningful than any ceremony clip I could have caught on tv later. Thanks Dave! Maybe next year John and I can join you two (or will that be three?).

Heather said...

Two, just two. I think. You wouldn't want a pregnant maid of honour, would you?

Teena said...

Wow! What a great video!

elaine said...

No, not really. But that doesn't mean you couldn't be a tiny bit preggers! :P Just kidding.

cheesefairy said...

Hi - thanks for stopping by my blog. That is a very evocative set of pictures. Thanks for sharing.

roro said...

Fantastic video and great post! Remembrance Day seemed extra remembrance-y for me this year and it's been so great to read about what people were doing and thinking about on the day.

Nancy said...

What a lovely way to honor Remembrance Day. I remember visiting Vancouver in November a couple of years ago, and I was touched and amazed by how prevalent and important the holiday was (for the entire month, even.) I bought a poppy pin near the beginning of our trip and wore it while I was there.

Beautiful video, also.

Heather said...

teena: Thanks! I'll pass your compliments along.

elaine: We're back to "not now." Ask again in a few minutes.

cheesefairy: thanks for stopping by as well.

roro: Thanks! It seemed that way to me too but I guess it's because I married a green guy.

Nancy: Interesting to hear your perspective, especially since so many people think we don't do enough around here.