I remember…
War, Veterans and Remembrance Day

I remember being 5 years old and learning about Remembrance Day in school.
I remember feeling glad that I could remember my Opa whom I never knew
Because he died from his wounds during the war

I remember being told by a classmate I was stupid
Remembrance Day was only for Canadian soldiers
My Opa was a bad guy
He fought for his country of birth

I was sad
I asked my mom
She said it was true my Opa fought for Germany
It was a terrible war
Many died.
I learned to stay quiet

I remember my dad telling me that he was welcome at the legion
I was stunned
Surely he was a bad guy too
He also fought for Germany during the war

He explained
No one wanted to go to war.
We were all young men.
We all lost friends and family.
At the legion everyone is a veteran and we all understand.
Oh, I thought.
Maybe not everyone, but certainly more than I’d realized
Certainly more than my classmate in Kindergarten realized

I remember past conversations with veterans
They changed how I think about war
They agreed with my dad
They taught me “that anytime you’re in the military and someone is shooting at you and you live to tell you’re a veteran.”
Yup, put that way it makes perfect sense.

On Remembrance Day I now remember
The Canadian soldiers who fought so I could live the life I so appreciate here in Canada
I remember all the soldiers who fought and lived to tell
I remember all the men, women and children who are still fighting

I remember
So many died
So many still die

I pray for peace and I remember

~Heike Mertins~
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