I took the moment and thought about those who served in the wars...ALL of them. Not just Canadian soldiers, but the soldiers all over the world who were sent to battle to fight for what they thought was right. Whether or not I believe in war or not...or even how I feel about the army or navy or whatever...people still are pledging their lives to be killed or kill in the name of what they are taught is right. Keeping in mind that a lot of the men and women who served or are serving as I write this are also forced into it either by a draft or family/political pressures. I don't want anyone to have to go out and do this. I believe in peace and harmony and working through things without fighting. Such a fairytale thought I suppose...idealistic some might say. But to me it is the MOST ideal way to deal with any kind of argument, debate, land claim, etc.
It's a topic that can be discussed for hours and hours and still coming to no end...it's hard to sit in a group of people and come to a decision that everyone can agree to full hearted. We are all so different...different beliefs, views, practices, needs, wants...this is why we war. Sad, but it's the truth.
Anyhow...whenever I take that moment to remember...I mostly remember my Opi and Opa who fought in WWII. They both fought in the German army...NOT the SS...just the regular army that was trying to keep their country safe...even safe from the crazy German SS army, because they were killing their own people. :o( Must have been pretty insane to know that your own country men were killing your neighbours and people you loved. It just must be insane to be out there shooting and killing and not even understanding what the heck is really going on...oh my word...it almost makes my brain explode.
Opa didn't much like to talk about the war. And anytime he caught us kids playing cops and robbers or whatever...pretending we were shooting each other...he would get upset and say that guns were bad. I didn't even understand it as a child. Like, what does it matter, these aren't real guns...it's our hands!! But now I can understand...perhaps it brought back horrible memories of witnessing people's death by being shot. Or maybe even shooting someone himself. I don't know. I will never know as he passed away in October 1996. We never talked about the war...except that I knew he was a mailman soldier. Delivering letters.
Opi didn't say too much about his time fighting except for when we asked direct questions. And we only had these questions from visible scarring that he had...so we wondered about the story behind it. He was shot through the shoulder. There was a scar on the front and back side...bullet went straight through the flesh. He also had a sort of flattened left pinky finger...this was from a tank driving over his hand when he was trying to hide on the ground from the "enemy". Going through the old black & white photo books we found pictures of him with some men hanging out on some grassy hill. Almost looked like they were out on a hike or something. But the photos were taken in a P.O.W. camp in France where he spent 2 years of life before finally getting to go home. Again, I wish I knew a little more about the time he served in the army...just to know more of his history and the things he went through in his life. I can say though...I KNOW he saw things he didn't want to see. Who would want to be on the front lines of death and destruction?? And even though he did...he was the most loving, calming, kind and compassionate man I knew. He was the best. He passed away August 30, 1997...and I STILL miss him so very much. I always miss his hugs.
I remember them because they were both good men. They both had positive influence on my life and I feel blessed to have had and loved two amazing men. And their awesomeness has nothing to do with fighting in a war. That was a small and consciously forgettable memory they both had. I remember the love they gave me...the things they taught me...the laughter we shared. I remember Opi and Opa...love you!
Opi, Omi and my mom in 1951.
Opa and Oma around 1956 I believe...