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 flypast 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 from which to watch this strange ceremony.
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.
I wondered if she was too young yet to realize the significance of the day. Just underneath her Grandpa’s poppy were a line of ribbons and medals.
Did she know the significance of those?
Maybe not yet, maybe it was too early to tell her all those terrible stories but the fact that she was here today, was a significant step indeed, for that is where the hope for all changes begin, with the next generations.
Maybe you’re not wearing your poppy for the rest of the year, but you can honour the veterans every day and share their stories all year round.
At least that’s what McGregor says.
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.