Monday is Remembrance Day. Before I met MiniSir this meant a few different things, none of which have the slightest bit of importance to me now. It’s sobering to think of how little this day mattered until I fell in love with a soldier.
When I chose to be with MiniSir , I chose to be in the military too. Not as an active service member, of course, but the military isn’t just made up of the men and women who serve our country without question every single day. It’s also made up of the spouses that stand behind their soldiers, the children, the support staff, the service workers… Like the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”, it takes a village to keep a soldier in service.
So if it helps, think of us all as one great big village. And every year on this day, our village puts aside the internal differences that divide us and comes together to honour the memory of every single person who has given the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe. It is the one day where it doesn’t matter if your beret is blue or green or black. We don’t care what your rank, or your spouse’s rank, or your parent’s rank is. We can all find common ground on which to stand and be grateful.
And no, I haven’t been with MiniSir for a long-term deployment, but I’ve felt the effects of not knowing if he’s okay and where he is through the domestic operation for the Alberta floods. I haven’t been out of touch for days at a time, but I have been unable to see him for months while he is on yet another training operation. And I wasn’t around when the horrible things he experienced in Afghanistan were fresh on his mind, but in the quiet of the night when he’s had a bit too much to drink I have heard about them, cried with him about them.
It’s those stories I remember every November 11. Those things that happened while the world was fighting in a place most of us had never found on a map. The things that make a grown man cry while you hold him. The stories that no one should have to have bottled up inside them. I remember those and I stand with my village, supporting my soldier and all the others, remembering with them that they are the reason we can stand together in peace, and feel love, sadness, and solemnity openly. All these things were why, one month fresh from the hospital after my accident, I stood on the open prairie in the relentless wind beside my soldier and shivered. Why last year, even though it fell on a weekend, we held our own quiet ceremony together and toasted the memories.
This year, as MiniSir goes with a few other soldiers to a grave on the outskirts of Edmonton to remember a good and brave man, I will be standing with members of my village remembering him and all the others who can no longer stand there with us. I will hold my head high, my poppy pinned next to my heart, and recite “In Flanders Fields” with the crowd until I start to cry.
And my poppy will be red.