I am reposting this entry from last November 11th. I think this song and video is the best nudge I know of to remind us all to take a break from our lives today and remember why we should be grateful to those who serve, and have served, for our country. It is our duty, our privilege to remember: Attend a Remembrance/Veteran's Day service, read a newspaper article about their experiences, talk to a veteran, say a prayer, watch a video like the one below.
But do something in memory and gratitude.
Like it or not, Christmas anticipation is all around us. But as Remembrance Day (Canada) and Veteran's Day (U.S.) are marked today, I hope that we all will honour it with the respect it commands. I want to share my favourite Remembrance Day reminder via this video, produced by singer/songwriter, Terry Kelly, who resides in Nova Scotia (my province) but is a native of Newfoundland. Please read the following background of the video before watching it. This song, its message, and the video itself puts such a lump in my throat and after watching it, you will be moved to truly remember those who have fought for our freedom and who continue to serve in battle and peace-keeping missions.
(From Terry's website - originally published in the Globe and Mail and written by Roy MacGregor):
It is a song that was intended as a rant, a little "venting" by the blind singer-songwriter concerning an incident he overheard seven years ago this coming week in a Shoppers Drug Mart in Dartmouth, just across the harbour from his home in Halifax.
He was in the store the morning of Nov. 11, 1999, when an announcement came over the public address system that the store would be following the legion's "two minutes of silence" initiative and fall quiet at 11 a.m. to honour those who had fought, and often died, for their country.
At the 11th hour, the store went quiet. Clerks stopped stocking shelves. Cashiers stepped back from their registers. Shoppers paused and lowered their heads.
Except for one man.
He was there with his young daughter, and he was in a hurry.
He demanded a clerk's attention. He insisted on going through the cash. He was loud and obnoxious and destroyed all hope of reflection for everyone within his sound range.
When the man completed his purchase, he hustled his little girl out the doors, but not before Terry Kelly - whose superb hearing compensates for his lack of sight - picked up her plaintive "Daddy - that was embarrassing!" as the doors swung back closed and, finally, allowed the store to fall quiet.
Outraged, Kelly went home, sat down with his guitar, and slowly worked out a tune and words:
"They fought and some died for their homeland
They fought and some died now it's our land
Look at his little child, there's no fear in her eyes
Could he not show respect for other dads who have died?
"Take two minutes, would you mind?
It's a pittance of time
For the boys and the girls who went over
In peace may they rest, may we never forget why they died.
It's a pittance of time . . ."
In the song, Kelly unleashed his anger ("God forgive me for wanting to strike him") and celebrated the Canadian soldier, from those who sent letters back from the Great War to those who today send e-mails home from Afghanistan. He sang about the swift passage of time ("May we never forget our young become vets") and about the significance of that small moment we mark at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Please watch this video. I promise you it will serve as a profound message that you will never forget: