Remembrance Day

"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?" - George Canning.

Mixed Media war veteran remembering his youth in the trenches

In this mixed media journal entry for Remembrance Day, 2016, I wanted to show the veteran remembering the atrocities he witnessed on the battlefield as a young man.

Remembrance Day must be a time every year when veterans relive moments of despair, of fear, of loss.

The memories of friends dying on the battlefield, of youthful energy spent fighting in the muck and rat infested trenches of foreign soils, of innocence changed to cynicism, of peace of mind, and of contented sleep turned into nightmares of bombs landing nearby, and enemy fire approaching ever closer...

The young men who went overseas full of vigor and optimism returned home changed forever by the unspeakable visions of war.

war veteran

We had such a man in our family.

The above photo appeared in a local newspaper. The family was unaware that the photographer had taken Uncle George's photo during the ceremony on November 11, 2011.

Nor did the family know at the time that this would be his last Remembrance Day.

family memento of remembrance of war veteran

George Hanson was 21 when he enrolled for war on January 15, 1943 and was sent to France with the Canadian Infantry Corps.

On August 17, 1944, while Uncle George was on patrol, another soldier stepped on a landmine and was killed. Uncle George was wounded and sent to recuperate in England. He survived the major injuries and was eventually sent home to his family.

On May 2, 1946, he was discharged from military service.

As most men of his generation, Uncle George had a stoic attitude about his war experiences.

He kept his memories to himself and only occasionally did he share his recollections with a few carefully chosen family members.

On this Remembrance Day, as on all others since I met George long ago, I will think of him and remember the kind, gentle, family man.

My gratitude for his service and for the service of so many other brave Canadian men and women will not sleep.

4 thoughts on “Remembrance Day

  1. Very touching Louise. Many of us have similar stories, and it is with sadness we now know from others who have found the strength to tell their story, that we know how really terrible it was for all those who served in all our wars.

  2. Thank you Louise for this touching tribute to my wonderful father Papa George. Also for your words about the contributions of many men and women who were totally changed by their war experiences and their families who waited at home.

    You have a wonderful talent in whatever medium you choose. I’m so glad we took the time to get to know each other on that paddleboat on the lake up north that summer and that we have kept in touch over the years since.

    1. Kathy, I am very honoured to have been able to share a little of Uncle George’s story. Please know that I feel the same way about that meeting long ago. (I refuse to actually try to figure out how many years it has already been!) Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. God bless.

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