Let me say, with utmost respect to its context, that I really needed a stat holiday to pop up in the middle of a work week. It’s been another hectic stretch of time, and I’m exhausted. Of course, this day is not about me and my needs, it belongs to veterans, their families and is reserved for generalized National reflection. Remembrance Day offers a sense of reverence, and a quiet Sunday-type of feeling washes over the daylight hours. Telephone turned off, face freshly washed, quietly listening to the radio with a book on your lap. Coffee on the couch with Benjamin, sitting under blankets in front of the fire with a sleeping dog nestled between us.
CBC 2 is offering a steady stream of Remembrance Day themed music and content. We sat down to a late breakfast, but when 11:00am struck and the Last Post Salute began, our forks were lowered onto the plate, and we sat in silence. Not one to be completely idle I pet my dog, and wipe away errant tears. Thinking about soldiers in a fresh uniform, before they ever see a war zone. What it would be like to say goodbye to your dog–your family, the warmth of home, everything you’ve ever known. To leave behind people who will worry about you, mourn for you, learn to live without you. Not being sure if you will ever return. To die in the worst possible circumstances and conditions, so far away from where you began. It’s an unbearably heavy collection of thoughts.
Editors Note: best remedy for this is to Google ‘soldiers and seeing their babies for the first time’…
…or how about ‘Soldiers and Dogs’? Jeez Louise, have a tissue handy for that one. It then easily rolls into a watching a YouTube montage of excited dogs and their returning masters and it makes your eyes want to explode with a burst of pure salt water.
Ah, that’s better.
After the moment of silence passes, the radio announcer carries on, introduces another song, we release a big sigh and we resume with our poached eggs. We decide to follow our meal with a walk on the beach. Before we do that–we stop by our local pet store. This is something Benjamin does to me all the time–we go out to walk the dog on a lazy Sunday–but first, lets run this quick yet unexpected errand. I ultimately run into a professional acquaintance or customer, old friend or ex-lover and I’m lurking around Petland looking like an extra from The Walking Dead. Unbrushed hair crammed under a red toque, sunglasses firmly in place, giant woolen scarf, yoga pants rolled up at the angle and running shoes; if I had an invisibility cloak, I would have happily worn that as a layer too. I hear a familiar voice, and see a woman I know looking absolutely, deliciously chic in a gorgeous black and red trench coat. Her blonde bob was impeccable. Very Grace Kelly meets Kate Middleton meets Remembrance Day. She’s just come from the ceremony in Riverside Park, which was absolutely packed with people. I’m stricken with a splash of guilt; feeling like a ceremony skipper caught out in public looking perfectly dishevelled, and sans poppy to boot. What a disgrace.
It’s been years since I’ve been to a public Remembrance Day service. It hadn’t become a ritual for my husband and I–it was always best spent as an ‘at home’ day. Also, as a little girl I know said about being at those services: “You have to stand there and be quiet for a really long time, and that’s just not my jam”.
I feel as though a full morning of Remembrance Day programming on CBC 2 is as good as a trip to the Cenotaph. I mention that to Grace Kelly, just put it out there that I’m observing Remembrance Day in my own private way–I’m not just being an insensitive non-patriot picking out dog coats without giving a second thought to the millions of people who died for their country. How can you not? Whatever your opinions about politics, military or war are, you can’t help but get a lump in your throat when you think about all those goodbyes, and of all those poor souls who never came back to say hello.
Images Courtesy of the Fine People behind the Internet