(Originally posted November 11th, 2012)
On any given morning in June or July at The Eddy below, the Morgan’s Falls fish ladder on the Lahave River, the banter around the old guys would typically be about who got what planted or some other trivial event that only the retired can really appreciate. Sometimes though in, a twist brought on by the mention of who knows what, it would turn to the war. In the late seventies, the memories where still vivid and the men were still sharp and although the conversation never turned dark, there was a tone that was serious enough to illuminate the gravity of the conversation.
My Grandfather, a dispatch rider in the 1st Division and who had fought through Italy, Holland and finally Germany, never talked about it with us. I suspect that was because we couldn’t begin to understand what really went on over there. My sense is, that that was the case with most men and women who experienced the horrors of war. Sitting on a log though, on the banks of a salmon river made everyone comfortable. The river couldn’t help but do that, and they would talk about it. They would, on occasion, form a little circle, an impromptu club if you would and it would just flow. Each one careful not to stir too deeply…
On Friday, when I asked my five-year-old daughter what she learned in school, she informed me that they talked about Remembrance Day and she went on, rather seriously to tell me that, “We need to be thankful for men who died by guns and by pointy things on the end of those guns.” I know that she had no true understanding of what all that meant but I was pleased that they had, at the very least, introduced the idea at such a young age. I plan to make sure that Ella knows her history and grows to appreciate what every veteran did and why they did it during the great and terrible wars of that century and that she holds it close. That is the least that we can do.