Monday, November 11, 2013

A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE...



A beautiful day out there on this day of remembrance.  Our little town held a Remembrance Ceremony at the Clinton Community Hall for a village of 650 people and a luncheon next door at the Legion. With over 200 in attendance, what a wonderful turnout.

Of course, I always think of my Dad, George Robert Rogers, on this day who passed away almost seven years ago. He was in the Princess Louisa Troop out of Quebec and fought in WWII. So my blog today is dedicated to him.

He was stationed in Hastings, England, for almost two years where he met my mother, Mavis Rogers. The army expected couples to date for a year before allowing their soldiers to marry overseas. My parents had only known each other three months when he requested permission to marry (yes...he lied). They married on March 3, 1943.

My mother got pregnant during that first month of marriage and my Dad shipped out to Sicily, and then moved on to Italy. At Christmas, 1944, he was on recon with a fellow soldier, ahead of their troop. Crossing an open field, his buddy stepped on a mine, which killed him instantly. My Dad was badly injured which resulted in the loss of his right leg just below the knee. Once he was stable, he was sent back to South Hampton, England to a rehab hospital. My mother who hadn't seen him since their first month of marriage, arrived in South Hampton with my oldest sister, Norma, who by now was about six months old.

My father was sent back to Canada on a hospital ship, while mother and sister were placed on a ship for war brides and their children, bringing them to Canada and a new life. So many of those marriages didn't make it and some of the brides refused to leave their families in England, realizing they had made a mistake.

My Mom and Dad had 63 happy years together until my Dad passed away at the age of 87. He never looked at being an amputee as a disability. A strong man, he always laughed at himself and approached his disability with humour. We three sisters grew up playing with his artificial leg. When my Mom would leave us to go shopping, Dad would sit back in his armchair to read his newspaper. But not before he rolled up his right pant leg and stuck his artificial leg out. We girls would lie on the floor and peek in the air hole at ankle level, poking our fingers inside. You see we were told that a little mouse called "Mickey" lived in there and if we were really quiet, he would poke his head out and let us stroke his head. When we got bored with the fact the "Mickey" appeared to be missing in action, we would make funny faces in the shiny metal leg he had at that time.

What a great babysitting tool his artificial limb was. We would lay there on our stomachs for ages, while my Dad read his newspaper in peace.

I, also, had an Uncle Tito, from New York. He was a double leg amputee.  His humour matched that of my father.

Two great men, who have now passed on, I found myself smiling during the two minutes of silence at the Remembrance Ceremony, thinking of Bob and Tito together.  And I could almost hear their voices and laughter. I'm sure they are mixing it up and causing chaos on the other side.

In all seriousness, we are very lucky to live in a free country, thanks to the soldiers who went to war to defend our freedom. We need to remember these soldiers every day, not just on November 11th. My respect and thoughts go out to all of the men and women who gave their lives to protect our right of freedom.
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