Don’t get all mad and self-righteous with me unless you’ve read to the end. Then you can be judgy-judgy if you so desire.
I attended my first Remembrance Day Service at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium today with my sea cadet son – mandatory attendance as part of his commitment. I felt honoured to be sitting among heroes, those who served and are serving. For the first time I sensed a twinge of what it might actually feel like if my boy enters the Navy a few years down the road. My stomach lurched a wee bit, but a sense of awe at what it truly meant overcame me.
Enter the screaming, crying, uncooperative babies, interrupting my soulful pondering. Behind me loud teenagers woefully recounting stories of fellow-teenagers they hated, with no regard for the volume or nature of their words. One of them was continually pulling tissue out of a crackly package. Just freaking take them all out of the package already!
I wanted to soak up the atmosphere, the reflection, the moving music of the exceptional band. I was SO annoyed by what I considered disrespectful parents for not taking their screeching kids out and at not being able to fully listen to what the Mayor and other honoured guests were sharing. Everything in me wanted to turn around and eyeball them. All of them. And maybe direct a few expletives their way. How dare they? Seriously, I was “aaargh-ing” in my head, supremely frustrated by the noise and by what I deemed inappropriate for such a moment.
Keep in mind I have had 3 babies in my day. I understand. I do not speak as one who has never borne children or experienced those cringe-worthy moments. Two of them are now teenagers and I am also cognizant of the fact that not all teens are horribly noisy and disrespectful.
Then it dawned on me. Events like this, moments like this, are the very reason our troops do what they do. To protect our families so we can take our babes out in public without fear of disease or terror at every turn. To guard our freedom so we can experience the togetherness of community, of mourning and reflection as one. To wake up each morning feeling safe and secure that our peaceful nation is intact. To roam as we please, to lead productive and fulfilling lives, to make our own difference in this world in a way that’s meaningful to us.
For those families who brought their children to honour our military, kudos. Your wee ones will grow into children and eventually adults who are aware of the gift they’ve been given of life in Canada. You are doing them a great service. To those teens behind me who I could have cuffed upside their heads, thank you for showing up, for your willingness to get involved and to remember. There are many other places you could have been today.
To me, boo for being so judgy judgy myself. That’s right. It’s me who needs the reprimand. Distracting? Sure. Annoying? Definitely. Others may have been completely oblivious to it all, it may have just been my own sensitivities. At least I came to my senses. Truth – we all get to live in this land of the free because of the bravery of the people we were their to honour.
One story seemed especially poignant, given my attitude. A veteran a few years ago being asked why he served replied,
“Because hate can never win.”
Lest we forget.