Tuesday November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada – in the USA it is called Veterans Day – and this year I am particularly aware of the significance of the commemoration.
I’ve almost finished writing a family memoir about my Aunt Gisèle. During World War Two, she hid Jewish youths in her apartment, located on one of Amsterdam’s principal canals. Every day, she had to find food, fuel and water. She had to keep her friends from sliding into despair and she had to make sure they stayed quiet. If they were discovered, Gisèle would have been killed too. This impossible situation continued for three long years.
My father, John, was a member of the Canadian army division that liberated Amsterdam. He said the Dutch welcomed them with cheering that sounded louder than the canon fire they were used to.
“After six years on the front, the exhilaration disoriented me,” Dad said, “But I felt proud of my Canadian uniform and grateful to be alive.”
He had my aunt’s address and when he saw her desperate conditions he took food and other supplies to her. She said he saved her life.
Pride and Gratefulness: Do we feel that sense of belonging and of appreciation, or has the busyness of our lives and our penchant for comfort distanced us from reflection and appreciation?
Men like my dad, and women like my aunt made huge sacrifices.
I think – Lest We Forget – means that we should, at least, make some small ones.
Need ideas? How about these?
Volunteer: Read to a child, collect recyclable materials, whatever. There are so many organizations that need your help
Donate used clothing: The items you think are worthless are valuable to someone
Spread the word about various causes in your community: See a worthwhile fundraiser? Share it on Facebook! There are so many ways you can help an organization with just the click of a mouse.
Donate something you made to an organization that can use it: You have talents – baking, knitting, cutting hair – a group of women meet at the Merida English Library and make caps to cover the shaved heads of children undergoing cancer treatment
Make your purchases support your values: Every purchase you make supports something. You can either support a large business or you can buy at small local shops. It’s hard to do this all at once, but changing even a few of your purchases will make a huge difference to a small vendor
Spread some kindness: Think about a time when someone did something unexpected for you that made you feel good. Weren’t you nicer to others because of that?
One person I cannot change the world, but one person can make a difference in another person’s world.
For more perspective, click on this link:
Lest we forget.
In Flanders Fields
– by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
*** I found the two photos on Google Images. No link to the sources showed, but my thanks to them