What I Remember

I watched the Remembrance Day celebration this morning from Ottawa. I no longer attend the service held in town. The crowds, the parking, are just too much for me. I watch the TV, remembering the two years we lived there. We were married in Ottawa and our first daughter was born there. I see the parliament buildings and remember being there myself. Once I actually saw three tiny girls, triplets, walking hand in hand carefully across its green lawn.

I search for buildings I might recognize but it has been so long since I was there. I find it interesting that my grandson Mike is raising his family there. He sent me a video of him with his wife and baby standing in front of the parliament building. Sometimes the world is a small place and I feel life has come full circle.

From 1955 to 1958 the RCAF stationed us in Germany. It was a country in recovery with many buildings still bombed out. For a year we lived in German accommodation. It was cold, inconvenient and not that pleasant. But we met a few German families and Harry got to practice a little of the German he had learned from his grandmother.

Our landlady had two pre-teen boys and was enchanted by our little daughter. Mrs. Lauer was a sweetheart and my youngest daughter carries a derivative of her name as her second name.

We did as much travelling as we possibly could, knowing our chances to see Europe would never happen again. One of the things I will never forget was the Canadian cemeteries. Rows and rows of cement markers bearing the maple leaf…boys of 16, 17 and 18. It nearly broke your heart.

We did a lot of travelling and also visited the Dachau Concentration Camp. After just 10 years it still smelled of ashes from the ovens nearby. The gas chambers told their own story as did the firing wall, filled with holes. Even now my stomach turns as I remember what we saw that day. So much evil.

My landlady is sad when she tells me that they knew little, only that something awful was happening to the Jews. But they kept their mouth shut as she had two little boys…they would be taken from her if she questioned anything. I had two little girls…what would I have done under similar circumstances? Only God knows.

Decades later my husband went back to Germany and together with our oldest daughter, they visited again my old landlady. The photo shows them standing on the same street as we once lived and all are wearing big smiles. Life has gone on and not much has changed.

I still hear of war and death and wonder what the answers are. We fail so often to make this a world of peace. But obviously God still has faith in us for here we are again “remembering.”

I pray my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be spare any global conquest. I pray for peace, the peace that was promised by Jesus who said “my peace I leave with you.” I will not give up that promise to those who say it will never be. It is still God’s world and that I do believe.

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About Patricia Schneider

Patricia Schneider is a proud mother and grandmother living in Alberta. Her articles are posted each Monday and Thursday. You can continue to follow her after December 1, 2016 on her new blog, Reflections by Pat (http://reflectionsbypat.wordpress.com).