Today is Veteran’s Day here in Canada. More and more, Lest we forget, we stop and thank those who have gone before at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day. Many of us wear poppies today to remember the poppies that grow on Flanders Field. Each year I am proud to pick up my poppy and thank a veteran who has served.
Every year I am reminded of the stories that I know from personal family research. Lately, I have been using Ancestry.ca to learn even more about the heroes in my own family. This weekend if you want to research the military stories in your family you can do so for free. In every generation, I have had family members who have served here in Canada and who are serving in military services around the globe.
First, there was my great-grandfather. Charles Pollard who was a WW1 veteran. Not much is known about his service but that he did serve. He served as part of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Then there was my granddad Norman Pollard and his brothers. He was one of 3 brothers who went and served. One did not come home: my Great Uncle Charlie was killed in action in 1942. He is buried in Germany. My grandfather was captured at Dieppe and transferred to a POW camp in Poland. In the final days of the war, with the world closing in, these men had to march for 86 days across 600 miles toward Berlin. My grandfather brought home with him unspeakable memories. He was hospitalized in England for 5 months after the war and then another 5 months at Sunnybrook Hospital before he could go home to his family. My grandfather’s story even made the local news as he was listed as missing in action and then when he was liberated.
Did you know when they would share news of those in the fight back then they would share what street they lived on? I live just a few blocks from where my grandmother sat and learned her husband was missing in action. The same home where she would receive a letter smuggled out of the POW camp telling her, he was alive. He was liberated not long after that letter reached her in May of 1945.
My uncle Ron served as a diver with the Navy and did several peacekeeping missions. My uncle was even buried at sea.
My cousins Ronny and Tom have both served. Tom continues to serve.
My teen’s big brother, Seth serves in the American forces and has served in Afghanistan.
There was my grandfather Hilliard Kain who served in the Canadian Navy, as did my stepfather Alfred Smoat.
My mom was a member of the Canadian Airforce as well. This photo is of her graduating from basic training.
I am thankful to each and every family member who hearts were big, whose strength was real, whose courage was beyond measure. I am thankful for all we have as Canadians and know it is because of the valor of men and women just like my family members that I can even blog today. We owe huge debts of gratitude for each who have served.
As an action note, today if you are thankful for the service to this country of others, please support the vets in your community. Often they come home injured and get forgotten and let me put it this way, we don’t do enough at any level to offer the support or services so many need. Health care and home care right now are needed by so many vets who served so valiantly and funds are lacking, rehab care for our returning warriors is lacking as well in so many ways…so please add your voice to mine and write a letter saying that our VETS deserve the best treatment and access to funds we can possibly afford.
Today may we forget not the sacrifice and service of those who have served and those who wear a uniform every day so we can live here in Canada as we do.
Who today will you remember? For me it a long line of family members who have served in every major Canadian military action, from war to peacekeeping efforts every generation has given what they can to serve this great land I call home.