Friday, November 11, 2005

Today I Remember

Today is for my great-grandfather, G.H. Copeland, who crossed the border from Ohio, signed up in Windsor and was shipped off to England. He carried a Ross rifle that didn't work, fought at Ypres (the second time) and Passchendaele. He helped the Allied forces win the First World War.

Today, I think about my grandfather, G.H.'s son, James Copeland. He marched in Italy, lived with shrapnel in his foot and liberated Holland. He spent his war in a tank and came back a changed man for two reasons: his new family and the war itself.

But most of all today I think about my grandmother, Janet Mardon, a war bride, born in Angel in London. The story goes that she met my grandfather during an air raid, falling in love in the dark, almost instantly. They got married in a fever. She wore an expensive wedding dress she sort of inherited (she was a seamstress) when the wealthier woman's nuptials got cancelled. My grandmother came to Canada on the Letitia, landed at Halifax, and then took a train to Toronto with my aunt, a toddler.

After I lost my mother, my grandmother became a beacon of strength in my life. She lived a hard life, but she loved us too. She was proud, fierce and beautiful to me, a role model on the importance of family and the fury of love.

Today I'll close my eyes and remember the mud, the horror, the terror of the First World War. The bravery of my great-grandfather and hundreds of thousands of young men like him. Today I'll close my eyes and think of my grandfather meeting happy Dutch faces waving ribbons upon their arrival. Today I'll close my eyes and think of my grandmother walking the streets of a bombed London wearing her Wren uniform, helping out where she could, building the strength that defined her character for years to come. Lest we forget.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well said !

what great memories... cherish them always

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