McGregor Says: Going to Visit Grandpa’s Friends

The following column appeared in a previous edition of the Langley Times.

Her delicate youth stood out on this cold grey November morning. The crowd was predominately older generations that had come to the cenotaph to pay respects for other generations that had given us so much on other grey November mornings.

Her bright yellow jacket seemed out of place amidst the blues and the blacks, the somber uniforms and the solemn faces. She was taking it all in as young children do, watching the old timers, listening to the hymns, pointing upward at the fly past and holding on tight to Grandpa.

I had watched as her Dad had taken her over to Grandpa and she was most pleased that he had picked her up and given her a great vantage point. As she looked around, she absently played with the poppy on her Grandpa’s lapel, spinning it, taking it off, and putting it back on. I wondered what was going through her mind.

She was probably too young yet to realize the significance of the day.

Maybe it was too early to tell her all those terrible stories but what mattered was that she was here today, for that is where the hope for all changes begin, with the next generations.

At least that’s what McGregor says.

Grandpa’s Friends

Grandpa pinned a pretty poppy

On his big black coat today,

He always stands up straighter

When he wears that coat that way;

He was humming to his friends again

So soft, that no one hears,

But I think he knows I’m listening

And he lets me see his tears.

He was talking to his friends today,

I heard him when he prayed

Now we’re going to see them

At my Grandpa’s big parade.

I sit high on Daddy’s shoulders

And try to catch my Grandpa’s eye

But he’s looking at the Maple Leaf

And he salutes as he walks by.

I ask if I can meet his friends

So he takes me for a walk;

We kneel beside a list of names

All written on a rock.

He tells me they were left behind

In cold and distant rain,

He can only talk to them in prayer

They can’t come home again.

‘We had to pay the price’, he says

To bring war to an end;’

I think Freedom’s pretty costly

If you have to pay with friends.

‘Why did you do all that for me?’

‘I wasn’t born yet.’

He held me close and whispered

‘I don’t want you to forget.’

‘I did it for my Mom and Dad,’

Then his eyes began to water

‘I did it for your Dad, and you

And for your son and daughter.”

So I’ll always pin my poppy on,

Take my grandkids on parade;

Kneel underneath the Maple Leaf,

To thank the friends my Grandpa made.

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