Remembrance Day

Spent the day working at the resort. With it being an extended long weekend the valley is busy with tourists.

I can remember when Remembrance Day was not a statutory holiday. Some of the veterans would march in the parade and then go back to work. Fitting for that generation.

My Father and Grandfather would march on this day. I never saw it having come along later. By then my father had quit marching, although he still went to the Remembrance Day Service. My brother, sisters and I stood through many with him.

Did my Father quit marching because his Father couldn’t and then passed away? Was it his way of keeping his Father happy. They both were committed to service. They both experienced pain, physical and mental. None of it was talked about.

It’s a complicated world, if this day reminds us of anything, it should be that war is wrong. Not that it will stop us from getting into it. We have been on the winning side, and lately, on the losing side. Our fight for freedom, against domination and genicide in WWII was successful. Our fight for control over the Middle East was not.

My Father is gone now going on twenty years, I feel closer to him than ever as I reach the age that I really got to know him. We do things for people, because it means more to them than not doing it will to us.

Last year I didn’t renew my Legion membership after 30 years a member. It was through the encouragement of my Father that I joined. I shovelled sidewalks at the Branch and organized games for the members. I drank on Fridays and won my share of meat draws.

At that time the Legion was full of Veterans and it was good to talk to them. I learned plenty.

A picture of my Grandfather Dapper, a founding member of Branch #71 still hangs on the way to the pissers.

But somewhere for me it changed. The old guard died off, replaced by members with racist beliefs, and folks in it for themselves, siphoning funds for their own benefit.

It just didn’t seem something to continue worth supporting or being a member of.

Maybe it’s the same reason my Father quit marching and started singing Pete Seeger songs in the car.

The best war is antiwar any day of the week.

remembrance

Tonight, the sun going down behind a ridge lining the valley.

Remembrance Day ceremonies were held at the cenotaphs around the country like usual, except without many people and very few spectators, due to Covid. In Invermere a scaled back ceremony was broadcast on Facebook for people to see.

It is a day that stirs up many thoughts and feelings. I had to work early in the morning for a few hours clearing the fresh snow at the resort. On the way home I passed the large illuminated digital sign on the highway that crosses the Shuswap Indian Band Reservation. The sign often displays phrases and words of their original language. Today they were displaying pictures of their people who served in the wars.

As I drove by Jack Stevens was displayed on the sign. He was a handsome man. My father and Mr. Stevens joined the services together while in their teens. They were Valley boys trying to do right, possibly, for different reasons. My father was following in his father’s footsteps. Jack could have been feeling free from racism that was so prevalent, hoping once the uniform was on the colour of skin would be forgotten.

Mr. Stevens and my father both came home to the Valley from the Second World War. I know now my father was changed and struggled for years, until he learned how to survive. My mother, his two daughters and my older brother helped with that.

Whenever, Ron and Jack met, usaully at the ball diamond or hockey rink, they spent time reminiscing, laughing about good times spent before the war.