Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Gone, But Not Forgotten.
Two of my Great Grandfathers fought in WWI. One on my Mum's side - one on my Dad's. I don't know much about my maternal Great Grandfather, other than he died in a foxhole under fire.
My paternal Great Grandfather ran a confectioner's shop in the small town of Alloa, Scotland. Not long after he and my Great Grandmum were wed, he was enlisted in the Scottish infantry. After two mandatory tours of duty, he elected to return for a third. As they say, third time's the charm - sadly, he was killed.
My Great Grandmum was left to raise two small boys by herself. Making matters worse, the family packed her and her sons up, and sent them on their own to live in Canada. I can't imagine how she felt. What were his motivations for returning to war after he'd done his duty? Did they discuss it? Did she object?
Over the past few days, I've watched a number of interviews on various news programs with young widows, and widowers. Many younger than I. It's heartbreaking. Many of these men and women have babies or small children - they're just getting started in life. An important part of that new life, that they shared with someone else is now over.
Yet none of them appear to regret the decision their partners made to fight for the freedom of others. Sure, they were devastated, but they were also fiercely proud.
It takes a very special person to love someone so deeply, but still allow them to put their life on the line every day.
It takes courage.
To all those courageous men and women: thank you.