The Sydenham Cenotaph on Remembrance Day 2012

The Sydenham Cenotaph on Remembrance Day 2012

This morning I attended the Remembrance Day service in our local community. It was held outside at the cenotaph in double digit temperatures beneath a bright November sun. As always, I thought of my grandfathers and great uncles who fought in World War I; my father, father-in-law, uncles and their friends who served in the Second World War; and our son, a veteran of Bosnia.

Just as the wreath laying began, a woman standing among the dignitaries fell to the ground. The service was halted while those with medical training attended to her. When the ambulance arrived, she was able (with help) to stand and get onto the stretcher. I don’t know what happened to her, but I hope she will make a full recovery. No doubt she was embarrassed to think she had disrupted the service. It resumed when the ambulance left.

During that twenty-minute hiatus, while the woman lying on the grass, I was thinking of Terry, one of our son’s friends. He was a veteran of Afghanistan, but he died of cancer on October 17, 2012.  He was 36. We first met him half his life ago when he came home with our son. They had enlisted and taken their basic training together. For some time, Terry practically lived at our house. When their jobs took them in different directions, the two remained friends. Our son always kept us up-to-date on what part of the world Terry had recently visited for his UN jobs and what was happening in his life.

Terry’s death hit me hard. Perhaps because he is the same age as our son. Perhaps because he had his whole life ahead of him and now he’s gone. Although Terry didn’t die in war as many of the men and women did whom we are honouring today, his death is a tragedy nonetheless.

I will remember.