Yesterday I bought my poppy. Even though I have draw full of poppies I still purchase one every year. And there is even a little plastic do-hickey on the pin so perhaps this time I won't lose so many!
My 89 year old veteran Poppa Bear has already pulled his blazer from his closet and with a little help, he has managed to strategically place his tattered medals on his navy legion jacket.
Dad doesn't get out much these days. But he does love to partake in the moments that make him pause and reflect. He has been, once again, invited to attend the pre-Remembrance Day ceremony at the Wellington County Museum on November 5th, to read the names of the war dead from Drayton/Maryborough. Some might wonder why Dad has this privilege for he didn't even serve in the Canadian services, let alone live in this area during the war.
But he lives here, now. He was a 45 Commando in the British Royal Marines and served in many places including Malaya, Hong Kong, Japan. . . And he lives here now. I am here because a bullet never struck him dead. So he lives here now, with me; with us. And I am grateful and willing to help him anticipate the days of remembrance for him, for my mother who also served, for his mates and for so many others.
According to statistics released by the Veteran's Administration, our World War II vets are dying at a rate of approximately 492 a day. This means there are approximately only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II. [www.nationalww2museum.org; Nov 03/2015]
Dad is one of them.
War unites men and women who serve. Dad represents those who sacrificed life and limb so we could sit in our comfortable homes and partake in a land of plenty.
I am looking forward to helping my Dad traverse the cement pathway with his walker to the microphone. In his heart he will traverse it as a young, healthy marine 'just following orders.' He will salute. He will do his task.
I will proudly sit and listen as he reads the names of those, who paid the ultimate sacrifice, off the paper in his finest British accent and I will give thanks to God that, although some days it is hard work, it is not a patch on what my Dad and 15,999,999 other brave men and women had to do so I can enjoy the freedoms I celebrate in this fair country.
Thanks for being one of them, Dad!