A FRIDAY STORY
The Meaning Of 11
By Michael T. Smith
Here in the USA it is known as Veteran's Day. In Canada, it is known as Remembrance Day and is a national Holiday.
The number 11 took on a new meaning after 9/11. Before then, it signified freedom.
I had no idea what it meant. To me it was just another holiday. It was just a day when stores were closed and more importantly, there was no school. I knew about the war, but I was free to play. I knew people died for our freedom, but I could sleep in. I knew my parents had little when they were growing up because of the war, but I had food on my plate and a day to watch TV. The real meaning of the day was distant to me.
Years later my daughter joined the Brownies. The first year she was a member, I set the alarm to wake us on the morning of 11/11. She had to participate in a parade. Every Brownie, Girl Guide, Cub Scout, and Scout had to participate in this parade in remembrance of those who died for our freedom.
My wife and I left our daughter with the Guide leader and proceeded to the Canadian Legion where we waited for her. The kids paraded a mile along the coastal roads of Nova Scotia, carrying their flags high and proud. As we waited for her, the veterans arrived - old men, long past their prime. They'd fought in the trenches and watched their comrades die. Many came in wheelchairs. Some limped. A few still stood strong.
They joined the kids and walked as proudly as they could to the legion where a band waited. The band played, speeches were made, and on the 11th month, the 11th day, the 11th hour, the 11th minute, and the 11th second there began two minutes of silence.
I looked at the veterans. Their sacrifices allowed us to stand there that day. They gave us our freedom. The cold seeped through my jacket. I reached out and held my wife. A tear trickled down my cheek.
For years, I slept as these brave men still marched in the cold November air in remembrance of their comrades who died in battle beside them. It took my daughter to make me realize the importance of the day.
I've never missed another Remembrance Day.
Years later, because of work, I was separated from my family. I was in another city, but on Remembrance Day, I heard there was going to be a service in the city square. I was in Saint John, New Brunswick. I put on my jacket and a tie, walked the mile to the service, stood in the damp cold with a poppy proudly displayed on my lapel.
I watched those brave men once again march for our freedom. I don't know if it was because I was away from my family or the sight of those old men still walking proudly, but the memory of that service never fades from my memory.
They marched, wheeled, and limped to the city square. The mayor gave a speech. The two minutes of silence came. A bagpipe began to play "Amazing Grace." After the first chorus, a second one joined in, along with a small band. On the third chorus, more bagpipes joined and a brass band began to play. The building of sound, the magic of the moment is something I will never forget.
Tears filled my eyes that day, as the blood must have filled the trenches in battle. The moment is burned in my mind forever.
On November 11th, please take a moment to remember those who fought for our freedom and those that continue to fight for it.
May God bless them all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael lives in Fort Lee, New Jersey, with his lovely wife Ginny and his son. Ginny is the light of his life and the inspiration for many of his stories. Michael writes for a hobby. You may recognize him as one of our MDI contributing authors. If you would like to email Michael, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rivers Corbett
- Rivers Corbett, MBA is an award winning entrepreneur, speaker, and author of "13 Fears of Entrepreneurs" He has received numerous business honors including Entrepreneur of the Year, Canada's Hottest Start-ups List and Canada's Fastest Growing Companies list through Profit magazine and most recently recognized as one of Canada's 10 Mentor RockStars.. Rivers is presently a member of Startup Canada's National Advisory Council, founding entrepreneur of StartUP Fredericton & the "Entrepreneur in Residence" at the University of New Brunswick. His real joy and expertise is being a StartUP Advisor and "zagging while everyone else zigs"...like his two newest businesses ventures the Relish Gourmet Burgers restaurant chain and TheRockStar StartUP for StartUP entrepreneurs. Oh... he is also the leader of a team of over 25 chefs through his other company The Chef Group. Not bad for a guy who hates to cook. Always looking for a new idea to help businesses' succeed...this is his newest marketing discovery for StartUPs The Lyoness Advantage. "Rivers is a 21st century entrepreneur, he's the one to watch" - Jim Gilbert: Canada's Huggable Car Dealer!