Thursday, November 13, 2008

To Those Who Wait...

I truly want to thank those of you who dropped in and left good wishes the other day.
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.

Tim

4 comments:

Charles LeBlanc said...

Good one!!!

I was in a tent in front of the Legislature when he died.

I was very upset when the Union Jack was flying and not the Canadian Flag!!!

I changed that one pretty quick.

The Canadian Flag flew the next year.

Now it's the New Brunswick Flag.

Just a note???

Your kids are the most polite kids I ever met!!!

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

The passage that you read was short but VERY to the point. Great blog, and this posting is quite emotional!

Tony

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Dare I say it, but your speech very well may have been a tribute to the fallen soldier in the photo - - - SHORT but sweet.
Thank you so much for your views and opinions that are expressed so eloquently here. I wish I could have been there to watch and enjoy your speech, but I must say, upon reflection, your blog post of today is filled with so much emotion and captures the TRUE meaning of Remembrance, in that you have brought the story of the Short family to the rest of us and now 'we' collectively can have these images to remember on this special day.
Thank you for your insight and graciousness. I hope that you're feeling better.
Kindest regards,

Tim L.

Lynne said...

Thanks Tim. Remembrance Day is the hardest day of the year for me. While Peter didn't die in service he gave his life to his country. Many years ago he got involved in some highly secretive military actions when he was too young to understand the implications. It tortured him the rest of his his life and he had no where to get help. There are many men who have served our country and while they do not get the honours of being recognized for their service they still have quietly and painfully died for their country.

Peter died, September 23, 2007 and November 11, 2007 was one of the hardest days of my life. It is almost a bitter day as I know that he died in vain and without the respect he deserved.

Thanks for giving me this opportunity to speak up.

P.S. The children are smiling more and more as they know their dad is finally at peace and it is okay to go on with their lives.