Today I am taking the time to reflect how fortunate I am to live in the Country I do, and how very very thankful I am for all that did and still do serve our "True North Strong and Free". The world we live in is still a very scarey place full of turmoil and without these brave men and women it would be so much worse.
Every year on November 11th I get very emotional because my grandfather "Poppy" served in World War II; thankfully he survived and went on to marry my wonderful Gran and have 5 beautiful children. This amazing man passed away in June 2004 and would have turned 90 this year on Oct. 31st. To say I was close to him would be an under statement and my son (his only great grandson) bears his middle name. I woke up this morning and poured a cup of coffee in to a mug that was his and as I sit here and type I am flooded with many emotions and may just hug my kids extra tight today.
I have nothing crafty to share today but I do have some wonderful pictures and memories of him.
I spent the better part of last night going through old photos and scanning them in to my computer.
There is seldom a time that you would find him with out a hat on and I use to love taking his hats and putting them on:) I think I am about 5 or 6 in this picture. We spent our summers together feeding the ducks and pigeons at the park, going on long walks and tourmenting my gran. I am so very blessed to have these memories.
I am also very fortunate to have an amazingly talented photographer and cinematographer for a cousin. Sean sent me some pictures that he took of my grandfather and grandmother in 2002 and shared a story about the man that my grandfather was. I am going to share it here as his words were so eloquantly written:
" I dedicate Remembrance Day to my late grandfather, George Leaton White (1923 - 2004). Known to his family as "Poppy" or "Pop", he served from 1942-1946 in the 59th Royal Artillery, Newfoundland Regiment, under the British Army as Newfoundland had not yet joined Confederation. He never spoke much to his family about the war, preferring not to horrify his grandchildren about his experiences. One evening, when he was in his late 70's, my grandmother encouraged me to ask him about World War II. He opened up and recounted enlisting at age 16, being shipped off to England, living on based near London and taking shelter from the constant air raids, landing in France on D-Day +1 and fighting Hitler's forces into Holland as a gunnery sergeant. He went on to describe the brutal living conditions and how stayed in touch with his wife-to-be by writing letters to my Gran back home in Canada. After a few hours, I asked if he's ever been shot or serious injured. He recalled how he'd been scratched badly but was one of the lucky ones. Many of his crew mates were "blown to bits" beside him. At this point, he got very emotional and snapped back into the present. He wondered why I wanted to hear such awful stories and just like that, the discussion was over. It was the first and last time we ever spoke about the war.
I took these photographs on Remembrance Day 2002. My grandfather's health was ailing at this point and he no longer participated in the ceremonies and march. I asked if he would put on his uniform for a picture but he wasn't interested. My grandmother, working away in the kitchen, appealed to him. A few minutes later, he appeared to our surprise wearing his dress jacket and medals. I took a few photos in his bedroom window and a series of my Gran and Pop outside their home. It was the last time he ever wore his uniform."
So that is it from me today, I think I just may print out a few of these pictures and scrap them. I so wish that my children could have known this great man better. My oldest was only 4 when he passed but I am so grateful for all that he did to make this country great.
And to all those that served and still do serve "Thank You" doesn't nearly seem like enough.