Today is Remembrance Day and, for better or for worse, I remember. I did not fight in any war but I remember how my Granny suffered all her life over the loss of her brother in the trenches of the First World War. I also remember my other Grandmother telling stories of doing without her husband throughout the Second World War while he fixed engines on battleships. And stories from my father about how he fished and hunted to put food on the table during those years, and spent evenings on the roof in Calgary watching for Japanese bombers.
I spent my minute in silence at the deathbed of a dear friend who did fight in a war, World War II, who sacrificed a Cambridge education to join the British forces, lost a fiancé in the Battle of Britain, who married a man who lost his mind in German prisoner of war camps. She lies in hospital today, and slept through the minute of silence, a nap before her final rest.
I spent my minute of silence remembering what she has endured and lost, what the other veterans have endured and lost, and considering again that they have not yet received an apology. Every year on this day, I reflect on the circumstances that brought us to the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and I never fail to wonder why no representatives of Germany or Japan have offered public contrition for their part in creating so many tragedies. I am astounded, actually.
Just as I suppose China remains astounded at Japan, and Vietnam remains astounded that Americans have the gall to visit their country as tourists. I suppose that time heals all wounds but, well, my family is still recovering from what Germany did in the last century. I did not fight in the war but I want an apology too, for enduring the legacy.
On a lighter note, some beatnik bunghole tried to sell me a white poppy on my way into the hospital this morning. Oh, good idea. Divert funding away from veterans to fund a peace organization? This is so often the problem with hippies: they are stupid.