So, how about those World Wars, huh?
When I think of them, I think of stories.
While I remember the classes on WWI from grade 8 social studies, anything I can tell you about it is more likely to come from Rilla of Ingleside than from school.
And for World War II, I think of The Devil’s Arithmatic, Number the Stars, Schindler’s List, Maus, and The Pianist. I’ve been meaning to read Inside The Third Reich. We own it.
And for my own personal connection to the wars? I go to family history.
I know that my… great grandfather? Great great grandfather? Was in World War I. He was taken prisoner, but escaped to Belgium. There he sought out some business partners… or maybe employees of the shipping company that he owned. Anyway, they were related to him through business some how, and they hid him until the end of the war. Since he only spoke English, he couldn’t speak without giving himself away, so they told people he was some deaf-mute cousin of theirs.
When he returned home after the war, I guess he was a little shell-shocked. He wasn’t reckoned to be much use, and he left his wife and child (children?) and ended up getting mixed up with some con man in the States.
Then there is my grandfather’s cousin, whom my mother called Cousin Harry. The rest of Canada knows him as Hard Over Harry, a heavily decorated naval officer with the dubious distinction of firing the first shots of the Canadian Navy in WWII.
I was honoured to attend his funeral when I was a teenager. I don’t think I ever met him in person, although my mother spoke of him with fondness and had always pointed him out to me in excitement whenever he was interviewed for a WWII documentary on TV.
It’s not much of a connection. But it was of these men, and their families, that I thought at 11 AM on 11/11.
Lest We Forget.