Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day, Remembrance Day

When I was a little girl, my biggest fear was that the USA and Canada would get in a war and we would be put in a concentration camp.  I had just learned about them in history and was so stunned that people would treat others this way.  My mother served in the Canadian Army Reserves.  She was a major, but we live over in USA so she would go across the border every week two and three times to go to the reserves.  I would cry and be upset after she left.  After a few weeks of this our babysitter told Mom about this so Mom asked me what was wrong.  I told her about my fears.  She calmly explained that would never happen as both countries are allies and friends.  My mom also explained to me that she was a teacher so she would never go where the fighting would be.  She would just train them, not fight with them.  It makes me think about the families who have members fighting.  I know what my fear was like, I can't even imagine what their everyday is like, especially the children.  How do you explain something like this to your children?  How?  I think about this a lot, not just on days like today that are set aside to honor them.  They deserve more than that because if it wasn't for our soldiers, both past and present, we would not be able to have the freedom that we have.  Many of us live in countries that are free and we have no idea what it is like to live in countries that you have no freedom.  I can't even imagine living somewhere where you can't say what you want or do what you want.  We can go to the store and buy whatever we want.  Most of the time, we have enough food, shelter, and clothes.  Can you imagine those that live in countries where there are food lines and when you finally get in the store, there is no food left?  I can't.  I can't imagine living in a country where women are not allowed to drive, vote, be in company in public of men without their husbands or father, where girls are not allowed to go to school?  It completely baffles me about these things.  How can people treat people they way they do?  Yes, in this country there are people who are not nice and treat others poorly.  We have choices and rights that so many don't have.  I have always been proud of the country I was born in and the country I was raised in, however, I am more American than Canadian.  We were raised to be American.  We went to American Schools and lived there.  Mom wanted us to know about both countries, the one of our birth and the one we were raised in.  I decided when I was 18 not to become an American not because I don't love the USA, I do but because I wanted my children to be the first Americans in our family.  To me, that was the American Dream, coming from another country and having your children be the first Americans.  I have since changed my mind.  I want to be able to vote.  Yes, I also have made this decision because I can't have children so they won't be the first Americans, but the right to vote has been a dream of mine for several years now.  I am working on saving the money to pay the fees.  (It is now really expensive to become an American, about $400 plus other fees.)  In a few years, I will be an American.  It will be an exciting day when that happens.

We should be thankful for those who serve our countries everyday, not just on days designated to remembering or honoring them.  I know I am.  My mother ended up serving 31 years.  I have always been proud of my Mom being in the Armed Service (even when we had to wait for what seemed like hours for her to get out of the officers' mess after parades or special events).  She joined the Air Force at 18 and then when her time was up she joined the Army Reserves.  We were an Army family.  At times, it seems like we still are.

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