Please accept my apologies for taking so long to do my follow up post.
The Remembrance Day service at Victoria Hall in New Maryland went very well.
One thing I wasn't thrilled about was that for the first time in all the years I have attended this ceremony they decided not to have chairs for those on the stage.
You recall that I was very sick the entire day prior and really could have used a seat. I almost took an involuntary nap a couple of times but stayed upright thankfully.
My reading expressed Remembrance Day completely.
It was quite short though.
So short that I don't mind typing it out for you.
Act of Remembrance
Read by Councillor Tim Scammell
Shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
I have found out that this passage is part of the poem "For the Fallen" by Laurence Binyon (1869-1943).
It is unlikely that I could have found a more fitting passage and hope that everyone really listened to the words and thought about their meaning.
I tried as hard as I could to speak in such a way that might make people do so.
I think it worked but I was too nervous to look up from the paper to see.
The kids told me I did very well. Those little guys made me so proud by behaving perfectly and doing everything when the rest of the people did.
This was the first time in their lives that neither Cheryl or myself were with them during the ceremony.
They're little men now. I wish they would stop growing up but I'm happy that they will have the chance to do so and become anything they choose to be.
Could we ever imagine the thoughts of the mothers and fathers of the boys (they were only boys) as they watched their childen leave home to fight in the wars?
Nothing could possibly describe a parent's fear that their child may not come home alive.
In these times it's difficult to imagine but it was common not very long ago.
I want to remind everyone of something that is more easily identifiable to us.
Remembrance Day is just as much about the loss of men and women in modern times.
On October 2nd 2003, a young Canadian soldier Sergeant Robert Alan Short was killed when the jeep he was in drove over a landmine outside of Kabul in Afghanistan.
That is Robert in the photo above.
He was only 42 years old at the time. Only slightly older than me.
I will always remember his passing with great sadness.
You see, Sergeant Short was from Fredericton.
He was buried in a little cemetery only a short way down the road from my house. The funeral was one of the largest and saddest events I have ever seen.
Some friends of ours at the time had known Robert for many years from their time at Petawawa, Ontario in the Forces together.
When his body was flown back to Canada it was televised across the country. Our friends had to send their son over to play with our boys while they watched it to spare him the emotion.
The most powerful memory I have of Sergent Short's passing is that on November 11, 2003 his wife, son and daughter were at the Remembrance Day service in New Maryland.
Just over 1 month later!
I felt such sadness that day as I saw Robert's family and the overpowering grief they were feeling.
I remember looking at his son's face and wondering if he could ever feel happiness again.
At the end I shook his hand and he gave me a small smile in appreciation.
He didn't know me but I wished I could have been his best friend.
On November 11, 2008 Robert's family was there again, as every year.
I am very happy to say that his son was smiling this year. He was there with his own little one and it was clear to see he has been feeling much happiness.
I smiled when I saw them together.
Robert would be so proud.