Can you hear the echos above the windless silence. This is the morning after the cold gray dawn that greeted the faces of the survivors. This surreal setting greets us this one day each year, lest we forget the lessons of the past. Lest we forget the task we asked so many to perform. Lest we forget the service and sacrifice many performed. What did we as the brave to do?
We asked farm boys, shoe salesmen, delivery drivers, milkmen, loggers, miners, trappers, business people and shop keepers to go and fight a war. There were young men of every race religion and creed. We asked them to sacrifice their goals and ambitions and in many cases their live. We asked them to fight a professional army and to be the standard bearers of democracy to the next junction of history.
The focal points of their time were the linchpins of victory and the blood stained ground of those days are all but forgotten from the minds of those who’s heritage benefited from their sacrifice. Some say some battles were more important than others, in that they fail to realize every battle was important.
Oh there are some that stand out and others forgotten but then bloodshed is bloodshed for a common cause.
Here is an example. We have pomp and ceremony to commemorate D Day, yet few remember Ortona. Or—what? You might ask. Ortona Italy on the Adriatic where in 1943 the Canadians fought the Germans in a battle so fierce it is remembered as “Western Stalingrad” What many thought would be a short fight took eight days in December that continued through Christmas.
How many reading this heard of Ortona? There are any number of battles left unmarked by time that we should all know about. The reason I know is because my father was there. He never talked about the horror of war, but he gave me just a peek into a battle so fierce there were as he said no prisoners only the living and the dead.
So today stand outside in the cold, absorb the gray surreal silence. Soak up the sadness of unrelenting sorrow their generation of family took to their grave that we the living might celebrate this day of remembrance with the respect it deserves. Take of your hat, bow your head in silence and say thank you for your service, and above all thank you to those who sacrificed their lives so you can live yours in peace.