Friday, April 7, 2017
Each Battle Fought
My father in law William Elias White fought at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. He was a 21 year old man from rural New Brunswick sent to fight one of the most horrendous and memorable battles in the First World War. He survived. On Sunday I will stand with his sons and daughters, his grandsons and granddaughters ,and his great grandchildren and remember him and his comrades. When thinking if I would leave the comfort of my bed and my home to stand at sunrise while the flag is lowered I reminded myself of just how minuscule that sacrifice is compared to the one Burton's father and thousands like him made that day. Yesterday coming back from my walk I slogged through the mud on the wood road thinking of those men. They slogged through mud amidst death and agony and the possibility of their own demise . I was heading to a warm and welcoming house not the misery and destruction of war. We can not even imagine what they went through. We can remember though and honor their bravery. The other thing that came to my mind was the legacy of his survival. I of course would not be walking on the land I walked yesterday if he had met his end at Vimy Ridge. His son , my husband and the father of my four children would never have been and our lives would not have intersected. That fact also led me to realize that the battles I've been given to fight; loss, sorrow, worry, uncertainty would have taken another form if his destiny had altered mine. In remembering tomorrow I will remember it all; the young boy in the portrait on our bedroom wall, the soldier who went to battle, the husband who fathered my husband, the son he raised with deep military values and deep pride in what his father lived through, the sons and daughter I was blessed with, my present and future grandchildren, the land we built our home and life on , the past, the future and the present with all its challenges and battles. The simple act of standing and remembering is not simple at all. It holds the enormity of what has been, what could have been and what is.