Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance and Gratitude


I am quite nervous about writing this particular post.  Why? -because  I am writing this post  to express my deepest gratitude and reverence to not only Veterans but People in the Armed Services.   I really want to convey my gratitude in a thoughtful way, and I am certainly no author.  I merely recount things in my daily life.  As this topic is of the utmost importance to me, I will give it my best shot.

I would like to tell you a little about Barney’s father first.  Barney’s father was 27 years old when he began flying for the RAF during WWII.  He flew Lancasters.  He never saw combat as he became a flight instructor in England during the war- he did watch as many of his friends and 'students' left on missions only to never return.  His only mission  was after the war dropping supplies over The Netherlands. For this he was grateful.  

Mr. Rubble had numerous photos of his time during the war and even kept his flight manifest.  There was one photo he had that was professionally taken  of him in his uniform and an unidentified woman in a uniform.  No one knew who she was, and no one ever asked him.  He apparently was quite the ‘player’ back in the day, so everyone assumed she just was another girlfriend.

In his later years Mr. Rubble was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  He was quite on in life when this happened so it didn’t take ‘hold’ very quickly.  That being said, he seemed to relive stories from his past more vividly then he did before.  One story that he seemed to relive as he told was of the mysterious woman in the photo.  No one asked, but one day he just started speaking with tears.  It turns out the woman’s name was Rosie.  He met her during the war.  They fell in love and became engaged.  The photo was taken so it could be sent back to Canada to show his family his fiancĂ©. It was never sent.  She worked in an ammunition's factory in Scotland.  It was bombed on her shift.  She was killed.    

Mr. Rubble’s mother had 5 sons.  All of them left Canada to go and fight throughout various locations in Europe.  As a mother of 3 boys I can not imagine what those years must have been like for her.  She was so very fortunate, where a great deal of other mothers were not- every single one of her sons came home to her.

I grew up in an Air Force town.  There was actually a NATO base located there.  I went to school with children who’s parents were in The Forces.  I babysat for people who were in The Forces. My uncle and my cousin both served in the Canadian Air Force.  I have to drive through a Canadian Armed Forces base to get ‘home’, and I see the yellow ribbons attached to every sign post on the highway when another one of our soldiers is killed.  I have driven on the Canadian Highway of Heroes in Ontario, and although I have never actually been there when they bring a fallen soldier home and down the highway, I cried driving on it anyway.  I have been to the Airborne Cemetery in Oosterbeek in the Netherlands and stood by the graves of fallen soldiers who never made it home, even in death.

What I haven’t done is explain to my children why Daddy is missing their birthday.  Why he seemed different since he came home- or why he isn’t coming home.  I haven’t waited to hear if my husband is leaving us.  I haven’t had sleepless nights wondering if my husband is safe, warm, lonely, hurt.  For all you wives out there who have, I thank you for your sacrifice- whether your husband wears a Canadian Flag on his uniform, or an American Flag, or any one of our Allies’ flags- I thank you for your sacrifice.
For the men/women who do what you do to keep our world safe, I thank you.  I thank the Canadian Soldier past and present.  My gratitude is equally extended to the American Soldier.  I express my thanks to all of our allies that leave their families so that my family will remain safe.

My children are huge history buffs.  We discuss war and conflict, past and present.  They have been to the Canadian War museum and know a great deal about the artifacts within its walls.  Yes they play their Playstation Call of Duty game, but we make sure to discuss real life and the game.-having conversations, which they initiate, about how they couldn’t possibly imagine doing this in real life.  They have a great respect for those who Serve.  That is what we do as parents.  We teach our boys that they have their freedom because of people who Serve and sacrifice for us.  We ‘can’t imagine doing it in real life’, but thank God there are men and women out there that do.

Thank You .

Additional info
Highway of Heroes
A Highway of Heroes reassurance marker with a red poppy flower in place of a number. Above that is the text Highway of Heroes, and below it SUPPORT OUR TROOPS.
On August 24, 2007, the MTO announced that the stretch of Highway 401 between Glen Miller Road in Trenton and the intersection of the Don Valley Parkway and Highway 404 in Toronto would bear the additional name Highway of Heroes, in honour of Canadian soldiers who have died,[116] though Highway 401 in its entirety remains designated as the Macdonald–Cartier Freeway.[117] This length of the highway is often travelled by a convoy of vehicles carrying a dead soldier's body, with his or her family, from CFB Trenton to the coroner's office at the Centre for Forensic Sciences in Toronto. Since 2002, when the first dead Canadian soldiers were returned from Afghanistan, crowds have lined the overpasses to pay their respects as convoys pass.[118]


  1. Willie - you brought me to tears with this one. Not an author? Maybe not but you are a heck of a writer and you honored our brave military (including families) beautifully. Thank you for this lovely tribute!


  2. This is beautiful, Willie thank you. As you know I have my own feelings about Remembrance Day and you have inspired me to do the same. Thank you for the tribute to our valiant Canadian soldiers of then and now.

    1. Thank you Lillie. I look forward to reading your blog with Barney when he gets home.
      When the boys were little and we'd go over to Barney's parents place, Barney would often be outside with the two older ones fixing something for his Dad, and I used to sit at Mr. Rubble's feet and flip through his photo albums. Some days he'd stop me and tell me a story about a person or event. He actually had some very good memories too.
      In email sometime I'll tell you sometime about what he and a group of Veterans did once they returned home. Quite remarkable actually.

  3. Amazing post!!! ((hugs)) Beautiful!

  4. Ahhh, Wilma I love this! I cannot imagine the sacrifice....of the soldiers and those left behind. It is almost too much to try to understand. Quite a few men in my family have served. My dad's casket was draped with an American flag....and I swear every time Taps is played....I just lose it.

    I know we take so many things for granted, but today really is a day to stop and remember how lucky we are to have our freedom...and to remember all of those who have payed the ultimate price so that all of us may live free.

    Thanks for writing this.....job well done :D


    1. Thanks for the kind words Lucy. My Dad lied about his age to sign up for the draft for WWII. The War ended before he was sent over seas. Though he didn't serve overseas, I've always found it remarkable how a 17 year old boy felt such a duty to Serve, to lie about his age.

  5. That was beautiful don't give your writing enough credit. You know they say a good writer writes from the heart...I can see your heart here and it is a beautiful sight!

    1. I agree, Bea - Willie is a very good writer. :)

    2. Well I'm not sure I'm entitled to the compliment, but I truly did write from the heart.

      Thank you nonetheless

    3. You know Lillie er...ians mrs. I'm not going anywhere regardless of my poor writing!

      Thanks Lady :)

  6. I appreciate this post very much, Wilma, and think you said it beautifully. My feelings toward the military are complex and have evolved, but suffice it to say that I have come to a point where I will not tolerate any disrespect or slight toward those men and women who put their lives on the line in the service of their country, whether the conflict is just or not. And it gratifies me to see others who have the same understanding.

    1. Thank you Kevan for your kind words. I really was nervous about this post. I knew what I felt, but I was unsure how to say it.

      I too have had issues with things that have gone on, but I have not been in the boots of a soldier so I have begun to realise I have no right to comment.

      I hadn't informed Barney that I included his father in my post.- He tearfully thanked me when he finished reading, just moments ago, so I must have done something right.
      As always I so enjoy your comments.

  7. Wilma, this is such a beautiful post and a lovely tribute. You said it beautifully and brought tears to my eyes.

    You certainly don't give yourself enough credit as a writer. This was from the heart and perfect.

    1. Thank you Roz ( although I am supposed to be drinking coffee not wine when I read your comments). I'm trying to appreciate the compliments, Barney- big softy -had tears in his eyes too. I only wrote what I felt.
      I know a lot of women, particularly in the US, in our Dd community have husbands who Serve, and I wanted them to know that even though we are from different countries, I know my family benefits from their husband's Service.

  8. LOl Wilma, hey, what can I say, It's Sunday, I'm on weekend time :)

    You should appreciate the compliments, it was a lovely tribute and so lovely of you to think of our friends who have husbands who serve.

  9. Hi Wilma!
    I agree with everyone, this is a really lovely post. I grew up as a military brat. All my uncles on my dad's side of the family served. One uncle was in the DMZ in Vietnam 3 times. We have a family member that served in Afghanistan and Iraq; he is still serving. Having seen up close the military life, I appreciate this post so much. Thank you.
    You are a wonderful writer.


  10. Well Kiki please express our gratitude to your family memember who is still Serving- and those who did Serve. It is not the soldier from one country that keeps my family safe. It is a joint effort, and my family appreciates them all.

    Thanks for stopping by again!

  11. This was beautiful Willie. Some family members told me about the Highway of Heroes. Living in the US, I've grown to appreciate the way the two countries celebrate and honor their veterans as well as active duty soldiers. There's a quiet gentility in our homeland that I appreciate.

    A lovely post. Thank you.

  12. Thank you Susie.

    It was emotional driving on the highway and seeing the signs and the overpasses, even though it was just a regular day. I have driven on it many times since then and I still get choked up.

  13. You are a writer Willie. That was beautiful and I am so glad you are teaching your children how great a sacrifice the men and women of the armed forces need our respect, prayers and gratitude.

    I remember when soldiers came home from the Viet Nam war and were granted less than a heroic welcome - it was just awful. Glad we have evolved some.

  14. Hi, Willie. Just adding my two cents to say, ditto to the sentiments expressed in your post and those of everyone else who commented. Service and sacrifice are necessary by those who revere freedom as long as there are others whose intent is to thwart individual liberty through oppression, destruction and annihilation. Too many have given everything to ensure continued freedom for their family, friends, country, world.

    As you and others describe, the soldiers put everything on the line, and many give, and lose, their lives. Those of us remaining at home serve by supporting our military, and we sacrifice by giving our loved ones to the cause - sometimes only for a long while, sometimes forever.

    We will never forget.