The Larks, Still Bravely Singing, Fly

L-R: Grampa, Uncle Tom, Uncle Jim

It's hard to believe how young my grandfather looks in this photo. My dad told me that here, he was probably about 18 years old. He stands with his brother-in-law (centre) Tom, and his brother Jim. Grampa and Uncle Tom were the lucky ones. They were wounded but lived through World War II. Grampa was able to marry his British sweetheart, bring her home to Canada and eventually to see his sons and granddaughters grow up. Always a soldier, Grampa fought again during the Korean War.

Out of these three bravely smiling brothers and soldiers, Grampa's brother Jim was not as fortunate as the other two. At age 24, he was killed in the war, and buried in Bologna, Italy, with other soldiers who died for their country. I'm relatively certain that no member of our family has visited his resting place there in almost half a century (since my dad was a young boy), and it has long been a wish of mine to go to Bologna someday to lay some flowers and pay my respects to a great-uncle I was never able to meet. 

Aside from a few stories about the pet monkey he had while in Korea, Grampa never spoke much of what happened during WWII or the Korean War. In spite of that, I do know that his experiences stuck with him for the rest of his life. He never wanted to come to Remembrance Day ceremonies, I suspect mainly because he was never able to forget what had happened during war-time, no matter the day of the year. But whenever I go to the ceremonies myself, I think of, and am grateful for him and for his brother, whose name is carried on both in my father and my youngest nephew.

Each year on November 11th I wear my poppy and remember what my grandfather, his brother-in-law and his late brother did for their country, and for peace. I am proud, and most importantly thankful.

Lest We Forget.

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Katrionagh said...

So sweet. I am always so emotional on Remembrance Day, but happy to read things like this and hear others' stories. Thanks for posting!

Elise said...

What a touching post! And such a special photo to have!

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