Remembrance Day is a solemn day for me. I have a niece and a nephew in the Canadian Armed Forces and I’m immensely proud of them, but at the same time it makes me ill to think they might be called upon to sacrifice their lives.
My respect for those who serve in our military began at a young age when I was privileged to know my great-uncle Bob.
Great-Uncle Bob (Robert James Moss, 1888 – 1978) was one of my favourite uncles. At the dinner table, he’d catch the gaze of one of us kids, then sneak the jelly dish over and surreptitiously eat the jelly, teasing us with mischievous glances. If he cracked a hard-boiled egg, we’d hear a sudden peeping (I’m sure his pursed lips were entirely coincidental). His eyes would widen in feigned surprise as he peeked inside the egg while we sat enthralled, half-believing there might be a chick in there.
That was the gentle, humorous, soft-spoken man I knew.
He never talked about the war, but in 1917 and 1918 he was part of the 44th Battalion Canadian Infantry. They saw some of the heaviest fighting in World War I in the frigid mud of hellholes like Ypres and the Somme, and I use the word ‘hellhole’ in its most literal sense.
The front was a barren wasteland of torn-up earth and barbed wire, pockmarked with shell craters that rapidly filled with icy water in the relentless rain. Many of wounded drowned or died of hypothermia rather than of their injuries. The trenches were just as bad, with men often standing for hours or days in frigid water up to their knees. The mud on their boots and clothing added fifty pounds or more to the weight they already carried. The din of shelling rarely ceased, and any foray out of the trenches was met with a hail of bullets. They were never dry; never warm; never safe.
Uncle Bob also fought at the battle of Vimy Ridge, where in three days the Canadian Corps suffered over 10,000 casualties, but secured the ridge. Uncle Bob was awarded the Military Medal for acts of bravery and devotion under fire.
I often think of him; not just on Remembrance Day. I think of the horrors he willingly endured for his country. For us. And I think of all the others in our Armed Forces, past and present, whose names and stories I’ll never know.
Thank you to all our brave and dedicated troops of yesterday and today. Not just on Remembrance Day, but on every day that I live in peace and safety:
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From the YouTube page where this was posted:
On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.
Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.
When eleven oclock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.
Terrys anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.
Thank You to the Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden Branch #10 and Woodbine Height Branch #2 for their participation in the Video.
Please visit www.terry-kelly.com