Today is November 11th, which is Remembrance Day in most Canadian provinces.This morning I went down to the Remembrance Day Ceremony held in Kamloops’s Riverside Park. It was a nice ceremony and as you can see from the photos below, many people attended to pay their respects.
Remembrance of My Grandpa – World War II Veteran
Grandpa(featured above) passed away in October 2014. He was 96. In the photo above, he would have been around 95 years old. He was about to go to a Remembrance Day ceremony which is why he has the poppy flower on his jacket.
Grandpa was a navigator in a bomber that flew missions over Europe. The top photo is of the bomber he flew in. Just below that is a picture that someone in his squadron sketched. Every time we visited my Grandpa’s home, I always liked looking at those pictures. I’d even try to create my version of the sketch. After my Grandpa passed, I was fortunate enough to take them home and they are now hanging on my wall.
Thankfully Grandpa always made it home from his missions, but I’m sure there were many times when he almost didn’t. I can’t imagine what it was like to go on missions, constantly putting your life at risk. The thought of even just flying in an old WW II bomber around 80 years ago must have been scary enough. Not to mention that there was no shortage of people trying to shoot you down or a million other things that could go completely wrong. All this while knowing you had a young wife and infant waiting for you back in Canada. I can understand why they call his the “greatest generation.”
The day before my Grandpa passed, he began singing old war songs. It was a somewhat surreal experience as I’d never heard my Grandpa sing before. He actually had a wonderful voice and it’s shame our family didn’t get to hear more of it during his lifetime. Something else that was striking about it was how he remembered the lyrics to songs that I assume he hadn’t heard since the war. The song I remember him singing most was “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag.” Some of the lyrics are:
What’s the use of worrying?
It never was worth while,
so pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag,
And smile, smile, smile.
When you think about it, the lyrics essentially are telling you to ignore your feelings and go forth. Hard to believe, but then again, what else could they do? Yes, the “Greatest Generation,” indeed.
Remembrance Day is a holiday in only certain parts of Canada. I’m not sure why but Remembrance Day is not a holiday in Quebec, Ontario, or Nova Scotia. I have no idea why this is. Canadian soldiers are from all parts of Canada and should never be forgotten. To all those who have served in our country’s military, thank you for your sacrifice.