November 11, 2018.
My father has been dead for 43 years. He died the month I started my weaving career.
For some reason, this year I have been thinking about him - a lot.
He served - reluctantly - in the Canadian Armed Forces. He was first generation Canadian, born in a little village about 20 miles south of the town I was born, raised, and still live in. The smaller photo is him, around 14 or 15, the larger at 21 in his uniform.
The fabric is his medal patch. See the empty spaces? Family myth has it that upon being demobilized, he took all the 'medals' and handed them back, keeping only the insignia of his service.
He served in the Aluetians (first born German extraction citizen meant keeping him away from the European front, I suppose) and then was sent to England in preparation for D-Day.
For many years the CBC aired a series on World War II - my father would sit in his recliner, focused intently on the screen. My brother and I had to be quiet because dad was watching the war. When they showed footage of the Canadian forces landing on D-Day, dad would point at the screen and say "I was there."
Family myth also says that when he returned home, dad gave his hunting rifle to his nephew and never hunted again. He could not stand the sight of bloody meat which meant I didn't know that anyone ate meat 'rare' until I was 16. Kind of grossed me out the first time I saw it.
Dad never talked about the war unless something triggered him. Yes, he had what we now call PTSD. I learned early not to ask dad about the war. When my brother got a cap gun dad nearly had a fit when my brother aimed it at mom and yelled 'bang, bang!'. Dad made it very clear he was not ever, ever, ever, to point a gun at another human being in his sight. Didn't matter it was a toy - it was the concept.
On the other hand, when I was 12 a friend was given a .22 rifle for his birthday and when I mentioned that I could go shoot it, dad told mom that I needed to know how to handle and respect a gun so I could. She wasn't happy about it, but Dad Had Spoken. He rarely did, so when he did, his word was the 'law'.
So on this day when we remember those who did not make it home again, we watch leaders of various countries stand, in the rain to show respect, I think about my father. And give thanks that he did come home again. To provide an example of doing one's duty, even when one didn't really want to. To respect others rights, but not put up with disrespect. To help others, not put them down.
Thank you for your service dad, and all the others who also served including my father-in-law and family friends.,..