Today is the first of the firsts. You know, after someone dies, it’s the first birthday after they’re gone or the first Thanksgiving. For me, it’s the first Remembrance Day after my father is no longer with us.
I suppose it was because my father was a World War II veteran, but in our household November 11th was never a “holiday.” Rather it was a day to reflect on my father’s survival, the loss of his friends and the ultimate result – my sister and I lived in a democratic country, under the mantle of those implied freedoms and privileges. If we didn’t go to a live Remembrance Day ceremony, we watched, as a family, the CBC coverage from Ottawa.
I always called my father on this day. We didn’t necessarily speak of war or of his personal experiences, but I hoped that when he heard my voice, he knew I was thinking of him as a young soldier trying to make sense of a world gone mad. I hope he also realized that I am grateful.