Remembrance Day 2019: Lest We Forget

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“The Homecoming” by sculptor Morgan MacDonald

Tonight, as the twilight closes in on November 11th, Remembrance Day, I think of my Father who was one who came back from WWII. The day he left home for the first time, in a soldier’s uniform at 18 years of age, he remembered hearing his mother playing a hymn on the piano as he walked down the road. There was no certainty, only a knowledge that life was precious.

Earlier this year, I traveled to St. John’s Newfoundland. It was a place that has always been on my “to visit” list ever since I studied the map of Canada in my early grades. Bannerman Park in St. John’s holds a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment soldiers and their families.

The Homecoming” brings to mind both joy and sorrow, and the need to come together as a community.

It’s passing on the torch to the next generation.” Sculptor Morgan MacDonald

10 thoughts on “Remembrance Day 2019: Lest We Forget

    • So many stories left unwritten. May we live everyday within the spirit of their possibilities. One of the most poignant letter that I ever read was from someone who never made it back from WWI. It was written to J.R.R. Tolkien (there were four friends), who was inspired to continue writing by what was in this letter. And write he did and changed the world in which we lived.

      My dear John Ronald,

      My chief consolation is that if I am scuppered tonight – I am off on duty in a few minutes – there will still be left a member of the great T.C.B.S. to voice what I dreamed and what we all agreed upon. For the death of one of its members cannot, I am determined, dissolve the T.C.B.S. Death can make us loathsome and helpless as individuals, but it cannot put an end to the immortal four! A discovery I am going to communicate to Rob before I go off tonight. And do you write it also to Christopher. May God bless you my dear John Ronald, and may you say things I have tried to say long after I am not there to say them, if such be my lot.

      Yours ever,

      Geoffrey B. Smith

      Liked by 2 people

  1. “The Homecoming” by sculptor Morgan MacDonald, is a beautiful sculpture, reflecting the grand intent of “It’s passing on the torch to the next generation.” A kind of living reminder in the presence of this message, that man has been passing on the torch to the next generation, for maybe a little too long.
    I have older cousins that did not make it back from the 2nd world war, and one who was with Le Régiment de la Chaudière, who was one of a handful that survived the near complete wipe out of his regiment. He one of the lucky ones came back with a metal plate in his head that eventually led to his early death, like 22 or 3 years of age.
    Please pardon my soupçon of cynicism, but my few short years in the Canadian Navy, stationed out in Esquimalt BC’s Naval Base, and the aforementioned 2nd WW family ravages would have me convinced that we may be by now, consider that the passing of the torch to the next generation, should by now be a thing of the past. Because in the final analysis, it is our innocent youth who pay the price for they who start the wars for the eventually reaping in the various forms of the profitable benefits they aspire. Less profits and more youths to live out a full life is what I wish, and for which I hope.
    Wishful thinking I know, but it has to start somewhere.

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    • I believe in wishful thinking and agree wholeheartedly that it must start somewhere.. Because if one begins the wishful thinking, then others will join the movement. As I read your thoughts, I thought of Voltaire – It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound oftrumpets.” Voltaire. There are so many that did not make it back. I weep at the loss, not only for those that died, but that their children and grandchildren will never be. Thank you Jean-Jacque for your profound thoughts.

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  2. My dad also enlisted in the Army at age 18, right after he graduated from high school in 1942. Seeing the aftermath of battle set him on the path to becoming a priest. When the family moved to Vermont in 1966, he served as the chaplain for the local American Post and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The conversations he had with veterans in those smoke-filled barrooms were an important part of his ministry to him.

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    • I can only imagine what healing your father brought to this men in a time when there was no understanding of the ramifications PTSD, much less how to respond. Isn’t it interesting that healing comes when we have meaningful and authentic conversations. We have so much in common, Liz. After the war, my father had the opportunity to reach in Montana. And yet, it was a call to be a minister that brought him the greatest joy.

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