Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance


  1. Shayla

    I casually complain to a coworker
    about all the government employees
    who’re watching Breakfast Television
    in their flannel pajamas about now
    while I’m stuck here festering with her
    in this swamp of greed and regulation
    (okay, not in those words exactly)
    and she says it’s really stupid
    because most of them are immigrants
    (ohhhhhhh boy, here we go)
    and why should they get a holiday?
    Their grandparents didn’t fight
    in the World Wars,
    at least not on our side,
    (ouch)
    and most of them don’t know
    what today is about anyway.

    And I think about a friend of mine
    whose family had to flee their home
    during the first Gulf war. I don’t know
    many people of any colour or country
    who’ve been as close to war
    as she has.

    She could tell you
    what today is about.


  2. Andrew

    The principal, Mr. Murphy, is a history buff.
    He asks to come in and talk to our Grade 8 class
    about Nazism and World War Two, things that happened
    before we were born, before our parents were born.

    He paces up along the row of pencil-marked desks
    looking at us awhile. Then he points to Lisa, an Asian girl,
    and says, “If this was Nazi Germany, you’d be dead.”
    He continues down the line: “You’d be dead,
    you’d be dead, you’d still be alive, not you…”
    There goes Karen, Derek, Peter, Debbie
    -- half the class is Asian, all dead.

    Mr. Murphy points to Chris, who is black
    and also maybe my best friend, and says, “You’re dead.”
    He comes to me next. “You’d be alive, but
    you’d have to hide that you’re Polish.”

    At the end, he asks those of us still alive
    to raise our hands. Five hands go up.


  3. David

    Things have been coming back
    to my father-in-law slowly, since the accident.
    His wife held his hand, taught him to read again,
    re-taught him little things. Her unwavering patience
    and love is touching.

    One morning, as he and I share breakfast alone,
    he tells me he remembers the war. He was too young,
    but he lied so he could go. They needed him, he says.

    My father-in-law wanted to be a pilot, but
    he was miserably hungover the day of the exam.
    They sent him with a troop to clear trails instead.
    One day as they were burning through thickets
    they came upon a group of young Nazi soldiers
    and attacked them with their torches.

    He watched them burn,
    boys just his own age.


  4. Katie

    My sister and I write poems for Remembrance Day,
    terrible rhyming ones for school that we decorate
    with green construction paper borders
    and pencil-crayon poppies.

    Our mother persuades us to mail them off
    to our grandfather, who is a veteran, with a letter
    to thank him for fighting for our freedom.

    Years latter, our poems will be framed
    and mounted proudly on his living room wall
    beside the Gravenhurst Banner clippings
    from when he sent them in
    for publication. Our grandparents
    will direct guests to read them
    and wait with inflated chests
    while we squirm with
    dutiful embarrassment.





Photo by hobvias sudoneighm



        What's one of your more vivid memories connected to war or Remembrance Day?

3 comments:

Dorkmaster Flek said...

Oooooh, so that's what you were asking me about him for. :) That's a really nice poem. I also remember seeing footage of dead bodies from the Nazi concentration camps being dumped into a big trench in high school that was particularly striking.

Katie said...

I just think about Grandpa, and how I'm a little ashamed that I don't care more about what he did.

Katie said...

(Rereading the poem)

It shocks me how disconnected I am from what those people did and endured. In high school I skip every mass and ceremony including the Rememberance Day ones, because I just didn't care.

The sad thing is, I still don't really. I feel like that day is just a day to glamourize war and the wars that are still happening. I just want to wash my hands of it.