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Monday, November 12, 2012

Through the Eyes of Our Soldier


A repost for Remembrance Day:

Erik, right and a colleague, Larry.
 On the back of the picture, it says: 'I'm the one in green'.
Remembrance Day.
A day set aside to think about all of the people who have served us by laying down their lives.
And who are risking their lives today.
The ultimate sacrifice.
My thoughts are turned to the times when my husband and I have toured memorials around the world.
The military cemetery in Cambridge, England, where we had to leave because I was crying.
The Vietnam memorial in Washington. DC, when we watched a worker do a 'rubbing' for the brother of a fallen soldier, before we had to leave because I was crying.
The bunkers on the beach in Normandy, before we had to leave because I was crying.
The tiny military museum in the English countryside that we had to leave because . . . I think I'm beginning to see a pattern.
My second son served for eight years as an engineer/mine specialist in the Canadian army.
Including a peace-keeping mission in Bosnia. (When he returned home, he walked over to the lawn and just stood there. When asked why, he said, "I haven't been able to simply walk over and stand on grass for 10 months. This feels wonderful!)
I thought it particularly appropriate to include excerpts from some of his letters home . . .
Be warned, he was a soldier and had a wicked sense of humor and . . . opinions . . .

14 June
Greeting, Earth Dwellers,
The average temperature is currently hovering around +34C, which it has been all week. My secretary, Aida, was translating the radio for me and told me that these temperatures are the hottest in 68 years. Boy, are we lucky. The humidity is about 10000000% on top of that, so as you towel off from your freezing shower, the water droplets are replaced by sweat droplets as fast as you can wipe them off. I'm drinking 10 liters of water a day. 4 of them during my workout alone. Just crazy.
*  *  *
I forget what the date is, July something.
Hi, everybody!
I hope you all had fun at camp this last week, You'd better have. I had a lot of fun diving on the island of Vis. Even without the diving, the scenery was unbelievable. Except for the old ladies on the beach without tops on. Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!! That sort of thing could scar me for life. It should be illegal. Fortunately, I spent lots of time under water. I even held an octopus. He wasn't impressed. His suction cups felt really neat, though. The laser vision burns, though. Who knew octopus could cook their own food? National Geographic had taught menothing!
NOTHING!
Calm now.
*  *  *
I'm doing well, since you asked. I just drove here for the first time yesterday, and I had a lot of fun. The road signs are just a vague suggestion to the motorists here, so I had to adjust my driving doctrine to suit the conditions. Basically, we speed everywhere, and pass when we want to. Even driving like a maniac, my boss, Major Thelwell, says that I'm the safest driver she's seen here. I can't wait to drive around with her at the helm. Apparently I'm in for an exciting trip.
Later this week, I get to drive to Banja Luka on Tuesday, Zgon on Wednesday (it's right beside Kluc on the map, if you're looking for it), and then we go to Sarajevo by way of Tuzla on Thursday, returning on Friday by going through Kakanj. Basically, I get to see the whole country in a week. Sarajevo will be fun, I think.
Please send pictures of the dogs. I told my assistant, Aida about them and she wants to see them. There are a lot of dogs around here, but most are the end result of decades of hasty, unplanned dog sex. There was a cute little puppy who lives in the entrance bunker at the camp in Zgon, though. He was there with all the guards who were dressed in their fighting gear, and he was inspecting our vehicle while we talked to the guards. What a little cutie. I think he was a little Doberman without a docked tail, and no doubt he gets away with murder at the guard bunker. Fortunately, everyone seems to like Canadians.
*  *  *
The Book of Bosnia
Chapter One
1. And it came to pass that the soldiers of the Queen did go forth into the land of Bosnia, to bring a lasting peace unto the land.
2. And the soldiers did look about them and did see many peoples throughout the land, and behold, the land was bountiful, and beautiful to be seen.
3. And it came to pass that there was a spirit of contention throughout the land, causing much death and destruction.
4. And the soldiers dwelt in a tent.
5. Now the soldiers went forth unto the people, saying:
6. What is wrong with you people?
7. Lo, these words were heard by many, and the people did listen. But the people did not speak English, so they did continue to fight, and ignored the Queen's soldiers.
8. And there was no air-conditioning to be had.
9. Now the soldiers were angry, because the people were fighting among themselves, and many people had died. Plus one leg had fallen off their foosball table, which did enrage them.
10. Therefore, the soldiers did cry out to their Lord:
11. "Oh, Lord, why hast thou forsaken this land?"
12. And the Lord did hear the cry of the soldiers, and did pity them, and did say unto them:
13. "Quit whining! For crying out loud. You sound like a bunch of little girls!"
14. And many great and glorious things did the Lord speak unto the disgruntled soldiers in this manner, until the soldier's hearts were softened and they did fall to the earth in amazement.
15. Lo, their parachutes had not opened.
16. Now the soldiers were of the mind that the Lord had played a rotten trick on them, what with the parachutes and all, so therefore the soldiers did decide to bring peace unto the land of Bosnia by circumventing Him.
12. And it came to pass that the soldiers did cry unto a false god.
18. And this false god was called Chrétien, the father of lies, the ancient enemy of all men.
19. And Chrétien did speak words unto the soldiers, but the soldiers were deceived, and did misunderstand his words, since Chrétien cannot speak any mortal language.
20. And it came to pass that the soldiers began to wander aimlessly throughout the land, and their faith did diminish, and they forsook the false god Chrétien, and did end their days as wanderers, eating berries and kittens and other nasty stuff.
21. And peace was brought by Superman, and there was much rejoicing.

7 comments:

  1. It's great to be able to keep a sense of humor when you're deployed into a sometimes unbearable situation. Humor takes the sting away. And I agree with Erik's opinion of the false god.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bahahahaha!!! I can totally hear Erik's voice in these letters!

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOW, I have so much respect for the men and women who give up their time to defend our country. My David is in the military too and I am in awe of how he would give up everything to protect this country and the people in it.

    Awesome post Diane!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, as long as peace came eventually, and no one had to eat kittens any more. I think Chretiens problems all started with the way his mouth works....

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeah, I like the writing that is similar to the Bible passages. lol He writes better than Muhammad. lol

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have visited the Vietnam traveling memorial twice - and it made me cry, so we had to leave. It is heartbreaking.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Diane, the wonderful excerpts you've included from your son's letters show what a wonderful sense of humor he has! How wonderful to still want to make others smile and chuckle with words even when faced with such conditions! What a guy! And how lovely to know you raised such a wonderful human being! Kudos to you both! :)

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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