Tuesday 11 November 2008

Remember this...

I doubt any of you aren't aware that today is the 11th of the 11th - Remembrance Day for a host of allied countries who fought in the two World Wars of the 20th Century. The world we live in today didn’t come about by accident and it certainly didn’t come about because people used the power of their minds to make things happen for the good of humanity… is that Oprah’s new thing or another rehash of The Secret…? either way my cynicism isn’t going to take this blog over. I guess I want this blog to just simply say something about someone that you knew/know who was part of the awful reality that was war – and why it mattered. Just comment below if you’ve got something to share – I’d love to hear it and sometimes people need to read it to be reminded of what has happened before to allow us to live like we do now. The closest person I knew growing up that was part of World War II was my adopted Grandfather Mr Walker. He was my parent's insurance agent from like the 1970s and 1980s and given that three of my four grandparents died before I was 3 years old - Mr and Mrs Walker became very much like family given my parents and the Walkers became great friends. He was a bomber pilot based out of England in the 1940s and did his training in Canada before hand, but I never really talked at length with him about his experience - and upon reflection now - I come to realise he probably didn't want to talk about it. I was and still am someone who absorbs a lot of information about war - not through a morbid fascination but a deep respect for what was done and the cost that eventuated for those involved. The one conversation I can remember having centred more on his training in Guelph, Ontario, Canada before he left to go into action - as I was about to get on a plane and go live in Canada in 1999 as an exchange student - so we kind of had something in common there. By this stage he'd been gradually deteriorating mentally as he was in his 80s at that stage but the man who used to throw me up and down above his head when I was a little tacker with his big strong arms - still had a great sense of humour about the things they used to get up to in training. But we never really talked about what it was like to be in a plane over Germany etc - all I can recall is that there was such a strong bond between the men who flew in the bombers that every time they took off from the air fields in England - they knew there was a big chance they wouldn't all come back alive. And as the numbers of World War II veterans continue to thin, the understanding we the a generation who will need to pass the facts and reality of what was achieved by winning World War II in particular - must be strong so the deeds of the men and women who served in this terrible war are not forgotten. I must admit I was driving in the car with my niece and nephew at the stroke of 11am today when I realised that I hadn't stopped for a minute's silence as a mark of respect - so tonight at 11pm I will step outside my house and just reflect, thank the Lord for His mighty hand in the outcome of the war and silently stand in complete respect for the sacrifice and courage that people like my Mr Walker displayed in what was most certainly a different (and far more reality checked) world than the one we live in today.