Remembrance Day meanderings
My mind goes back to the Kamsack cenotaph and being a cub scout at attention as the names were read, casualties of the First and Second World Wars. It was cold, but it felt important to be there.
I think of former Fire Chief Roy Hawkins on his unique Dieppe mission to protect the British radar expert as he gathered intelligence that would have a profound effect on the eventual outcome of the war.
The image of Tom Morimoto flashes through my brain, a small man - probably too small to have been admitted, though he found a way - with more heart, courage and strength than most. He was the only Japanese-Canadian soldier that landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
I think of those I know who have served in more recent times: a former aircraft carrier Captain in the American Navy who took his ship in into the Persian Gulf War now working in the creativity field, a former officer who commanded hundreds in several spheres of operation in the last decade, now running a nonprofit shared space in Texas, and my brother-in-law who is wrapping up a dedicated career in the Canadian Forces ending his tenure as a Lieutenant-Colonel. Being a veteran is no longer the purview of the brave men and women who fought in those great wars of the previous century.
I think of Walter McNutt, the veteran I painted last weekend, and what he meant to his family back in Nova Scotia.
I will recite "In Flanders Fields" several times today, as I think it is one of the most powerful pieces of poetry I have ever spoken. It is so ripe with sounds, tastes, fears, loss, courage and heart that it is a perfect capture of combat, and the honour we should impart on those who have experienced it.