Second Half of the NEW YEAR – last quarter

REMEMBRANCE

An old woman sits alone in a small room,

Quietly weeping as she remembers,

The lives lost because of wars fought on this earth.

The first person she remembers losing was her Uncle Jack, she was only a small girl at the time, age four.

Uncle Jack used to bring a bag of sweets when he visited her family.

He was her Father’s oldest brother,

He fought in the first World War.

She remembers her grandparents receiving a telegram briefly stating that Uncle Jack was killed in action and thanking them for his service to his country.

She was married when World War II started and had a family of her own.

She remembers two of her four brothers enlisting at the beginning of the war.

She remembers her Mother’s quiet screams when they received notification that they were killed in action in some country far far away.

On the day when her husband decided he could no longer sit back and hear of the stories of lost family and friends and the possibility of the world being lost to a mad man, he hugged her and enlisted in the armed forces. A trained pilot was badly needed. She felt in her heart that he would not return. She hugged him tightly and kisses him hard on the mouth so that she would have that memory for the rest of her life.

In 1943, she received the yellow paper stating that her husband John and his crew were shot down and presumed killed in action. She wept quietly as she held the paper in her hands. Now she was truly alone and would continue to raise her six children on her own.

Years later when her second eldest son, also a pilot like his father joined the Armed Forces and went to fly in the Korean War, her heart skipped a beat. How could she go through this again but there was no stopping Edward, he was much like his Father when he made up his mind. Only a few short months after he left his plane was shot down by the enemy. Another letter, another life lost to these terrible wars. When would they end?

In the Vietnam War, her youngest daughter Katherine who was a nurse signed up, as a sign of the times to go and provide aid to the wounded. Also a short time later another son Mark decided to follow his sister, he was a Doctor. Medical personnel were greatly needed.

She remembers listening to the television and watching news clips of the war and missing her children so much not knowing if they would return. Occasionally receiving a letter from them.

On a summer day a black car pulled up to her home and two men in uniforms came to the door. Her daughter Katherine had been killed by enemy fire when she was tending to the wounded. Her son Mark returned home at Christmas in 1974 he had been wounded but he was alive. He was the first family member in all those decades to return home alive from a war. She was grateful.

The last war that involved her family was the Persian Gulf War in 1990. Two of her great grandchildren were enlisted in the Army at this time but thankfully they returned home, uninjured.

At 107, she had lost so many members of her family to War. The memories still front and centre in her mind. That was her cross to bear having a good sense of recollection.

Now, too old to participate in Remembrance Day Ceremonies, she sits quietly in her room …….

Written by C.Lewis on November 11, 2020

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