November 11: In the USA this day is Veterans Day. In Canada we call it Remembrance Day. In both countries we take this time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in our respective countries' armed forces. Most people think about those who paid the "ultimate price" for freedom, meaning they gave their lives while doing their jobs. It is fitting that we should honour them, but there are many, many more who gave their lives but did not die. Let me explain.
For 48 years, I have been married to a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. He spent 30 months fighting a war...not to protect OUR freedom but the freedom of people he did not know in a country he had probably never thought much about until this conflict planted him there. He did this not because he enjoyed what he was doing but because he was following orders and because he believed it was his duty. He received relatively minor physical wounds but MASSIVE emotional and psychological wounds that more than 45 years later have still not healed. Those wounds have impacted his life, my life and the lives of our children, in ways that I would not have imagined possible. After years of therapy with skilled and compassionate counsellors, emotional scar tissue has formed and the wounds are not so raw. But there is not a single day that the impact of those 30 months does not affect our lives, and usually not in a positive way.
So here is the point of my post...on this Remembrance Day/Veterans Day, please remember to say thank you to those veterans (and their families) who are still with us. The ones who gave their lives but continue to suffer.
Calgary Spark is a collection of stories told by members and friends of the church alike. Each person's story is helping to shape our community in new ways.