Current Time On The Rock

Monday, April 07, 2008

"...bravely serving the cause of the empire...."

I've thought about these words alot lately, not necessarily because this is the letter my Grandmother received when her husbands' ship was destroyed at sea during the second world war, but for these reasons; I was wondering where my love, my brothers' love, and my sons' love for water came from, I was thinking that sometimes you really have to know where you are coming from to get where you are going to, and was wondering how my life and my sons' life is going to change with his decision to enlist in the Canadian Forces. There are and were a few members of my family in the forces over the years and I've grown up listening to some interesting stories from my uncles and nephews and nieces. Gran gave me this letter out of shoe box where she stored mementos. I was about 12 I guess. It happened when I'd be washing her windows getting ready for spring and during a break she'd bring out this shoe box. It was her time capsule of sorts but to me it was a window to the past to history precious to her and our family, that I always was so intrigued with.

So maybe this has nothing to do with kayaking and maybe everything. Maybe the steps my son has yet to take will simply be in the ones of those lay ed down years ago and maybe our lives will be understood by the telling of our own history in our inadvertent quests for what we think may be right for each of us as individuals. I see no sense in war, but I am compelled to understand it. I was never asked how I serve my country, maybe we should all ask how we do that, I don't know, maybe it is not important but what I do know, is that to some, it is.


Neil Burgess said...

Hi Stan,
Great posting. The letter is amazingly powerful and tragic. That last line sounds so terribly British.

We live in such sheltered times now. Most Canadian men of our generation have never been in uniform, let alone risked their lives in active service. I can't help but think how many similar letters were sent to parents and wives across Canada during 1940, 1941 ... and the heart-wrenching pain they caused the readers.

The current "war" in Afghanistan is real and deadly, but on such a smaller scale (for Canadians, not Afghanies).

We are very fortunate when and where we happen to have been born.


Stan Mac Kenzie said...

Yeah Neil you hit it on the head there. We are very fortunate. I've always respected freedom but it does come at a cost most times. To me kayaking and freedom are synonymous but I also realize why that is. Thanks for the comment Neil.