Friday, November 11, 2011
Remembrance Day, 2011
I awoke this morning to the refrain, "And the band played waltzing Matilda." I thought of my father, who spent some of World War II in Australia. Most of the time, he was behind anti-aircraft guns -- the kind that fire large shells and make a lot of noise. Understandably, by the end of the war, he wanted nothing to do with guns -- large or small. I never saw him go near one.
However, he did not feel the same about the army. He said it taught him self-discipline, how to organize on the fly, and how to fix things. And, when he returned, it offered him an education. Late in his life, he told me that he owed his return not to anything he did but to "pure dumb luck."
When we buried him a couple of years ago, two of the men he served with came to the grave site -- with their wives and their walkers. "If ye break faith with us who die," John McCrae wrote, "we shall not sleep."
Today we keep the faith.