Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Friends

Like many Canadians, what I know about World War II is from history books,film, and first hand information from those older than myself. Today I wear a poppy in honour of my uncles, George and Joe, who served in the Canadian army in World War II. Both went overseas. Joe was a prisoner of war. Both survived the war,came home to their wives and raised families.

More recently, in teaching writing courses, I've met many people who have shared their memories of World War II with me. Today I think of the women who contributed memoir excerpts to my 1992 book, The Memory of All That: Canadian Women Remember World War II (Renfew, General Store Publishing House) Some of these women were in the armed forces; others were civilians; all of them were profoundly affected by the Second World War.

Among my writer friends were Lorne, who served as a mechanic in the R.C.A.F. and wrote of test-flying large aircraft on airfields in England, Glenn, a navigator in the R.C.A.F, and Ray, who was in the wartime Canadian Navy. They have passed on now.

Still alive and currently revising his memoirs, is Ernest, who was in the Canadian army in Europe.

Valerie, who was with the British Women's Auxiliary Air Force and served in the Middle East, has written of her wartime experiences for the Memory Project, and today is reading "For the Fallen" as part of the Remembrance Day observances at the retirement residence where she lives.

I have learned so much from all of them!

To quote John Lennon's In my Life: "Some are dead and some are living. In my life, I've loved them all,"

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