I can’t imagine fighting in a war. It is really hard to imagine when I’m sitting in a resort and people bring me drinks and food, whether I need it or not. So it makes it harder to imagine the horrors of war.
I had an uncle who fought in the Second World War. I didn’t know I had uncles or an aunt until I was in my 20s. My parents moved from England to Canada, and they didn’t talk about family or their life growing up. I didn’t know about this uncle until he visited us one summer.
I didn’t get to talk to him enough. He talked a bit about the war, but I wish I could have learned more. He had scars from the war. I don’t know how you go from what he went through to having an everyday life. He is no longer with us. I wish I could thank him. Pretty soon there won’t be anyone left to tell us about that war.
I’m blessed. No one has ever shot at me. I’ve never had things blowing up around me. I can’t imagine it.
I’m lucky there were better people around when we needed them.
Years ago, my son’s class had a field trip to the air museum here, and our group’s guide told us his war story. He flew a Lancaster Bomber and was shot down over Belgium. They parachuted down and managed to evade the Germans until they were captured in France. He ended up at Stalag Luft III, where the Great Escape happened. If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. He wasn’t one of those who escaped, but he helped dig tunnels that 50 men escaped through. All but 3 were recaptured or killed, but it helped the war effort. The Germans took soldiers off the front lines to search for the escapees.
He told us how he was moved from prison camp to prison camp, moving towards Berlin as Germany was being overrun from both sides. Finally, with the Russians coming closer, the prison guards released the prisoners and then tried to surrender to them, not wanting to end up in Russian prison camps. I’m lucky to have heard the story from him.
We owe an immeasurable debt to so many who gave up so much for us. Take a few minutes and remember those that gave so much.