Thursday

Yesterday was Remembrance Day in my part of the world.
I'm not sure young people give Remembrance Day much thought but, as we age, I think, it becomes more real to us.
As I came up out of the train station I saw a retired soldier sitting in a chair on the pavement. He was playing patriotic music on a trumpet and I could very well have had a little cry right then and there. I managed to avoid getting misty and put a dollar in his cup.

It was an up and down kind of day. An assistant I like had a hard time and this rankled me. I got my hair cut and it looks swell but my stylist had been duped by someone the night before and wanted to unload re the injustice of it all. I missed having lunch with my friends at work but one of them gave me spring rolls which I happily devoured. I left the office early to see two venues for the holiday party which I am not excited about organizing but happy to see to (does that make sense?).
On my way home, I found myself standing next to a soldier in full dress uniform. We were stopped together at a cross-street waiting for the light. I screwed up my courage and said, looking him in the eye, Thank you for your service.
To which he replied, You're welcome, Ma'am.
And I saw, in his face, in his eyes, that he was barely older than my Youngest and I was awfully glad that the light changed at that very moment because I burst into tears.
I could not have felt older.
He could not have looked younger.
A million feelings knotted up my heart.
And so, today, I cannot complain about the problem with the health insurance, or the bully at work or not knowing what to wear tomorrow at the Swanky Restaurant, knowing that Someone's Youngest is in full dress uniform and will not be safe until he is HOME.

Comments

Jen said…
At first reading your post, I was a bit narked, thinking well, I stood at the war memorial on Sunday with 13 7-10 year olds for Remembrance Sunday, so younger people do give this thought too.

But then I read what you said about bursting into tears and just reading it I nearly burst into tears too! He was indeed, Someone's Youngest.
blackbird said…
Jen,
I think, unless it is called to their attention, teens don't tend to think of what the soldiers before them have given for their countries. I don't think kids are capable of appreciating the magnitude of it.
But I don't blame for for being narked...
That's what gets me the most about hearing news about soldiers. Their age.

My Dad and his best friend joined together at 18 and both served 40 years. That's 3 years younger than my youngest.

I don't know how their Moms sleep at night.
RW said…
Yes, as my son gets closer and closer to the age of the youngest soldier, the reality of the situation becomes acute and pierces my heart.

There was a great turnout at our Remembrance Day ceremony yesterday - which was heartening to see.
Now I'm all misty, too.
Anonymous said…
We, here, know EXACTLY what it means to have a son/brother in war, several times, in different regions of the world, always nasty ones.
It was admirable of you to thank the Young Soldier. Nobody ever thinks about that. I would have cried right in his face though.
Paola
Keetha said…
Oh, that got to me. Thank you.
readersguide said…
Me, too.
ree said…
Sobbing here.
be*mused jan said…
All choked up here. I think this may be one of your top ten. But that may just be my age.
Allison said…
Gulp. That is the face of war that we seldom really see. We may look, but we don't always "see." Your perspective as a mother gave you an extra layer of perception that I am sure the young man appreciated.
Duyvken said…
I read an article on Rememberance Day here that said there it takes 5 generations to remove ourselves enough from a conflict to be able to discuss it. So while there are a lot of books about WWI and WWII it will be a while before we can face the horrors of what has happened over the last 50 years. It is still too close, to real and too painful for too many.
Oh my.


Don't watch any of these then. Particularly the last one. *Cried like a baby*
http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/40324
catsteevens said…
So many times I've stood next to a soldier in full dress uniform and couldn't find the words or courage to do what you did. Doubt I could hold it together.....'cause I can't even hold it together right now!
yesterday I heard that for the first time ever the leader of the German government spent remembrance day in France. It took 91 years for healing. That made me cry. It's so important to feel it and cry on these days otherwise we have forgotten.
Anonymous said…
bb,

Bless your heart.

God willing, years and years and years from now, that soldier will think back to the time he was young and a perfect stranger looked him in the eye at a red light and thanked him for his service.

LM
xoxo
alice c said…
I am standing beside you at the junction and I am crying too.
Anonymous said…
In Australia we buy badges off Veterans and they say thank you. But I say thank YOU!
wendy said…
blackbird,
As a mother of a youngest, wearing similar boots in a different location,I would like to say Thank You.
MsCellania said…
Every soldier is someone's baby. Even the 'bad' guy is somebody's cherished son or daughter. Thanks for the reminder.
This was the first of many Remembrance Days with my father buried at Ft. Logan. It was a difficult day.
Then one should be in your Top Ten, as mentioned above.
Puffy Heart
V
Anonymous said…
Oh bb. Your writing is so beautiful. Your heart is too. That was simply lovely and brought stinging tears to my eyes too.

jbhat