vrijdag 11 november 2011
'I wonder if you are for the moment allowed on British TV when you are not wearing a poppy?', I asked P while he was watching one more episode of 'Friday Night Lights' (BTW this is P his newest addiction, but have to admit that it makes me hopeful to get him back on a plane in order to check out the 'real' Texas where H,J,S and P are living and who I miss very much for the moment) on his laptop. I also have one and I wear it on my blue winter coat. Got it while I was book-shopping at Waterstone's Brussels and with a big smile donated an amount of money for the British legion. Why? I am not even British. Why I should I even care? Well, I do because Stallie is for sure one of these souls who has got this thing going on for special days like this.
Okay, Remembrance day is nice because it means in this nation an extra day of from work. Yes, it is a day that P is not doing anything work-related and that A can hang out with his toys and stuffed animal zoo without being interupted. But in my mind I do travel to a place where my parents took me as a child and more then once. A place where Armestice day can still come to live. I am then standing there in the pouring rain and see all those white crosses. The first time I saw them they gave me goose bumps. Yes, I did try to count them. Yes, I gave up because it were to many.
My parents did not talk a lot while we were out there. I think they just let the image speak for itself. Hoping that what my brain and eyes would pick up the things they wanted me to see, experience, feel and then remember for a life time. Well, I did. Because every time when I drive by a soldier's grave yard, walk by one or see a war monument I am very grateful to these men and also women who died at the time.
In my family the second world war is still alive. I still have family members who can tell me what it felt like to be a kid at the time or even being a soldier. My grandad, who I never got to know, was even a POW in Germany (mentioned this already a year ago in a previous blogpost). The war turned my beloved grandmother into a very strong woman who raised basically on her own three daugthers. Also I recall when my mum showed me his thomb stone that was one of the many amongst the war veterans. It would mean that my grandmother would not be burried next to her husband. I never asked if she did mind that.
This week P&I did watch some documentaries about the Great War. The most interesting one was the one about medicine during the Great War. It were sometimes very disturbing images to watch. P was also so nice to give me some extra info about the awful situation these 'brave' docs had to operate in. My upset stomach felt for sure the agony some of war victims must have gone through. The conclussion at the end of the documentary was that thanks to the war the medical world progressed. P then replied very dryly:'One field did!' Meaning surgery. But at what price?
What is very hard is to point out to a younger generation what the Great War and the second War did cause in these heck of the woods. How huge the impact was on the lives of many. Why? Because the many wars that are fought out here are not that touchable or visible and seem to rather taking place in a far off place. If I try to point out to my special ed audience that war is something that just can happen at any moment at any place and that you never know when and how it will end they will honestly tell me that they can't imagine it.
So yes, I still dragg them to places where there are leftovers to witness of destruction, pain and loss. As a teacher I never know what the outcome of thes field excursions are because I can't look into their harts or mind. There are the very rare moments that I hope that I might 'touch' or 'hit' something that a pupil will cary along for a life time. I have seen very 'cool' boys and very 'cheecky' teenage girls become very silent when they were suddenly confrontated with a war story. Yes, I saw the tears rolling down their cheeks. They were whiped of in a record time but I then knew that something 'changed'. It might be just for a split second but it did happen.
Also the story of Anne Frank is for most young people out there still a very accessible source to let them travel into the lives of a young person living in the word of war. But then it is still a gamble if they can transfer it to their lives that they are aware there are still soldiers, docs, mothers, kids and many other people who are at war out there in the world. People like you and me.
So yes, this twisted mind still purchases every year a poppy. And yes, I already have googled the 'last post' that is still daily played under the Menin Gate in Ypres. And yes, I already quoted some lines of some world famous poems of soldiers/poets who tried to put down in very sensible and touching words what war did to them and to the world. And yes, I will remember! AND NO I WILL NEVER FORGET!!!!