Today was my first Remembrance Day wearing not only a poppy, but the Military Families of Canada pin. As I watched the parade come down the street to the tune of the bagpipes and saw the flags waving to the rythym of the synchronized march, I couldn't have been more proud to now officially be a part of this special celebration. I can't imagine what it feels like to have lived through WWI - the end of which is the reason we celebrate Remembrance Day. Hopefully, I'll never know what living in war feels like. However, for those who do, I now have a glimpse into the past and can see just a touch of how the families of these valiant men must have felt 90 years ago today, when the Armistice was signed and the Canadians took part in the triumphant entry into Mons, Belgium. While I watched, hoping never to have to experience that for myself, many stood there simply thankful to have seen their loved ones survive.
When the Girl Guides arrived in the field, I had a flashback: I was 10 years old again, wearing my blue Girl Guide dress and hat and tights, with my winter coat over top. I remember standing there for what seemed like hours (though it was barely one) in the rain and the cold, not able to see through the grown-ups in front of me to the riser where the speaker stood. We sang O Canada and God Save the Queen and "Taps." I never fully understood what it was we were honouring - some old men and women who wanted to lay wreaths on a stone? Feet soaked, hair stringy, we'd trudge back to our cars and go home for a hot bath and a tuna melt or some other hot lunch to warm us up. And as soon as we were home, safe in our kitchens, we forgot all about the morningtime, the two minutes of silence, the fly-by, the soldiers.
But now, I remember. Today, I came home to my warm house with my wet and smelly dog, thankful to have a place to call my own, the freedom to live and work and drive a vehicle and cook whatever I find in my fridge. I am thankful to have a husband who had the choice to serve this great country in the Forces - he was not drafted, he didn't have to hide or lie to keep from joining. Thanks to men like our grandfathers and our great-grandfathers, Wayne was given that choice. And to honour them and their sacrifices, he chose the Army life.
Wayne was able to attend their ceremonies today in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu and salute the flag during the singing of O Canada, something he'll remember for the rest of his life.
Thank you Grandpa Wood. Thank you, Grandpa Primiani.
Thank you, Wayne.