This is my maternal grandfather, Charles (Charlie) Ryall.
He served in the 166th Newfoundland Regiment.
When he came home, he didn't talk about the war much, or the things he saw.
The closest he would come was when my Mom or my Aunt would leave food on their plates.
"I wish I could pack that up and send it to the starving children in Italy," he would say.
There was no lack of poverty in Newfoundland, so I can't imagine what he saw in Italy that would have prompted such a consistent response.
I never met my grandfather. He died just before I was born. But I know I would have loved him. He loved the outdoors, a great time, and a good laugh. He was beloved by everyone who knew him.
And he's why we are free.
He, and the thousands of men and women who fought for our freedom during WWII,
and countless conflicts before and since that time.
They looked at what was happening and thought,
"Nope. This is not the world I want for my children and my grandchildren."
For my Mom and my Aunt.
He didn't know me, didn't even know I was going to be born,
yet he fought and suffered for me.
My story is not unique. There are thousands of us who have war heroes in our families. Some can remember the coming home stories. Some, sadly, don't have those stories to tell.
And yet, because of their bravery,
to fight for the future of unknown generations,
we are free.
|Charlie Ryall and two of his fellow soldiers.|
I can't help but think about the parallels to the cross. How Jesus bled, died, and sacrificed it all so that unknown generations could also be free.
Most days, I wear a cross
to remind me of that gift.
This week, I'm wearing my poppy,
as a simple and public declaration:
We remember your service.
We give thanks for your sacrifice.
We honour your gift to us all.
And in addition, I'll be praying...
... in thankfulness, for all who have gone before, risking and sacrificing in countless ways for our freedom.
... for all those who continue to put themselves in harm's way for our safety and security.
... for those in power, that they may be wise and compassionate in all their decisions.
And my loudest prayer of all:
Bring peace in our time, O Lord!
This Remembrance Day, please join me in wearing a poppy,
giving thanks to our men and women in uniform,
and praying for a peace that will transform our world.