Our father, Bill Allen, served in the army in World War II. He initially trained others to drive tanks here on Canadian soil and then he served overseas-Northern Africa and Italy. He service ended before the end of the war due to serious illness. He contracted rheumatic fever and was sent home.
He was a man of solid character, our Dad. A bit of a rascal some would say. Well perhaps many would say that and we (three daughters) enjoyed his sense of adventure, wit and humour. He was full of mischief. His service in the war was never a big topic of conversation or perhaps I just wasn’t listening. If it was the latter, that is a shame for Dad never lived long enough for me to be wise enough to ask him more. He died at the relatively young age of 61 in 1979. I can only imagine the experience, the impact and the horrors of war that our Dad experienced.
Men and women who served and returned must hope and trust their work and sacrifice makes the world a better place. This was brought home to me in a very real way when in the 1970’s I was held up at gun point while working in a pharmacy in Regina, Saskatchewan. I was not harmed. Shaken, but not harmed. When I called my Dad to tell him what had happened, he said “I never served in the war so that some ba@#$rd could hold a gun to my daughter’s head!”. And I thought how he and others might have held hope the world would be rid of all evil as a result of their efforts.
If Dad were alive today, I’d travel to wherever he lived from wherever I lived. I’d accompany him to a Remembrance Day Ceremony. And I would tell him the world is a better place because of his service.
Thank you Dad.
8 thoughts on “Remembrance Day 2012-Thank You Dad”
Very Nice Barb.
Thank you Penny. You will be remembering your Dad today too. I remember him at the services in Lemberg.
Thank you Barb for sharing this story. I wasn’t aware that your father was only 61 when he died. Remembrance Day falls between 2 major events Halloween and Christmas each trying to outdo each other in commercial events and squeezing out one of the most significant days of our calendar year. As a young boy in school, we learned the meaning of this significant day and about the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we might enjoy peace today. In October 2011 my wife and I visited Vimy Ridge while in France. I cannot describe the experience but to simply say “moving”. It was the highlight of ours trip abroad and reminds me of why I am proud to be a Canadian.
I can only imagine what it would be like to visit Vimy Ridge. Perhaps I/we will be able to do it in person one day. I plan to request my Dad’s service records and when I receive them, perhaps I can re-trace his steps, if not in person then at least in imagination. When I have visited Pier 21 in Halifax I have wondered if Dad left or re-entered Canada on that very dock. I should know that and I don’t. You are so right about the commercialization of events that crowd out what is really important. May we or the generations to come never forget. Thanks for the comment, Bev.
Another wonderful story Barb. I too regret not asking more about the lives of loved ones who passed before I was wise enough to realize how precious time with them really was!
Not asking questions when we were younger is really not all that unusual. I have a niece who became interested in genealogy and capturing family stories while people are still here when she was in her 20’s. She is a woman ahead of her time.
Thank you Grandpa.
I wish your Grandpa and Grandma had known their grandchildren. Dad got to meet and know only the eldest grandchild. Mom died before any grandchildren were born. Thanks for the note.