Become the Change
My family is a Canadian Military Family. My mum, one of 12, grew up on the Shiloh, Manitoba base, where she met my dad, a young soldier in the artillery. Although Dad “got out” around the time I was born, my life was filled with sayings like, “Shoulders back, Chest out, Stomach in!” when I was slouching. At my grandparents' home, if you slammed the door, you were subjected to “Door Drill”, opening and closing the door quietly until Grandpa was sufficiently convinced we had learned our lesson. My grandparents were a happy young couple before the war. I've seen photographs of them at that time, younger than I am now, and know they were in love and full of joy. Many, many Canadian soldiers did not return after the war, but my grandfather did. He was not the joyful boy, however, who went away. Even during my childhood, War was a subject not to be mentioned. If we had questions, we were free to find our answers somewhere else, but we kept quiet about it. Grandpa came home an angry, closed off person, who buried himself in a bottle whenever possible, and took it out on everyone around him when it wasn't. It was only in his final years, as he was dying, that some of the old Floyd Turner returned, the laughing, happy boy from so long ago. In retrospect, it must have been difficult for my own mother to see. The man who would take a strap, belt, or any other available object to her for walking in front of the TV, became the man who taught his grandchildren funny songs, spent hours painting, and laughed often. As an innocent child, this was the only Grandpa I knew, and it was much later before I could see how much damage this horrible thing had done. Not just to him; yes, war stole the man my grandfather was to become, but it also stole the father my own mum deserved, and the husband my long suffering and loyal grandmother was meant to spend her life with. The devastating effects of the wars previous to now are still being felt by families everywhere, and yet we do not learn our lesson. Again, soldiers are not coming home, war brides are arriving on the East Coast, families are being built and ripped apart. We take one day a year to remember the sacrifice of all those before us, who have fought and died to provide us with the incredible life we now have. Why can we not remember them every day, and use that knowledge to change? I heard a quote this morning, “You must become the change you want to see in the world. (Ghandi)” What can we do to change ourselves, both to change the world we live in now, and honour the changes so fiercely purchased before us?