To One And All Around the Globe
11th DAY of the 11th MONTH
By Michael T. Smith
In the USA, it is known as Veterans' Day.
In Canada, it is known as Remembrance Day.
When I was a youngster, it was just another holiday -- a day
When stores were closed and more importantly, there was no school.
I knew about the war, but I was free to play. I knew people
Died for our freedom, but I could sleep in. I knew my parents had
Little when they were growing up because of the war, but I had food
On my plate and a day to watch TV. The real meaning of the day was
Distant to me.
Years later, my daughter joined the Brownies. The first year
She was a member, I set the alarm to wake us on the morning of 11/11.
She had to participate in a parade. Every Brownie, Girl Guide, Cub
Scout, and Scout had to participate in the parade. It was a day to
Remember those who died for our freedom.
My wife and I left our daughter with the Guide leader and
Proceeded to the Canadian Legion, where we waited for her. The kids
Paraded a mile along the coastal roads of Nova Scotia, carrying their
Flags high and proud. We waited for their arrival. Veterans joined
Them. Old men, long past the prime. They'd fought in the trenches
And watched their comrades die. Many came in wheelchairs. Some
Limped. A few still stood strong.
They walked as proudly as they could to the legion, where a band waited.
The band played, speeches were made, and on the 11th month, the
11th day, the 11th hour, the 11th minute, and the 11th second there
Began two minutes of silence.
I looked at the veterans. Their sacrifices allowed us to stand
There that day. They gave us our freedom. The cold seeped through
My jacket. I reached out and held my wife. A tear trickled down my
Cheek. For years, I slept as those brave men marched in the cold
November air in remembrance for those who died in battle beside them.
It took my daughter to make me realize the importance of the day.
I never missed another Remembrance Day. Years later, because of
Work, I was separated from my family. I was in another city. On
Remembrance Day, I heard there was going to be a service in the city
Square. I was in Saint John, New Brunswick. I put on my jacket and
Tie, pinned a poppy to my lapel, walked the mile to the service,
Stood in the damp cold and watched those brave men once again march
For our freedom.
I don't know if it was because I was away from my family or the
Sight of those old men still walking proudly, but the memory of that
Service never fades.
The Veterans marched, wheeled, and limped to the city square.
The mayor gave a speech. The two minutes of silence began. At the
End, a bagpipe began to play "Amazing Grace."
After the first chorus, a second bagpipe joined in, along with a
Small band. On the third chorus, more bagpipes joined and a brass
Band began to play. The building of sound, the magic of the moment
Is something I will never forget. The tears filled my eyes that day,
As the blood must have filled the trenches in battle.
That moment burned in my mind forever.
On November 11th, please take a moment to remember those who
Fought for our freedom and those that continue to fight for it.
May God bless them all.
-- Michael T. Smith
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