Tag Archives: Veterans

1899. Digital poppies

Yvette came up with a brilliant plan, although it may not have been as brilliant as one might like to think. She had come across a website that listed the fallen dead in various wars. If you clicked on a button on the page dedicated to each fallen soldier, you could leave a digital poppy.

Yvette chose the First World War. Some soldiers had a single poppy left, others had several poppies. One or two, here and there, had dozens of poppies. Most soldiers however had none. These soldiers had been forgotten. There was no one left who remembered them; no one to be grateful specifically to them for their sacrifice. Yvette knew exactly what she was going to do.

Methodically, because she was a careful and methodical person, she would make her way through the pages dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the First World War. If they had no poppy she would click on the button to show that the world still cared.

It was early August. If she hurried she could give each a poppy by the 11th of November; that was Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day. Oh, but there were millions of names! Yvette quickly discovered that there were too many for her to say “Thank you” to.

“This year,” thought Yvette, “I shall simply do those whose family name starts with an A. Next year I’ll do the B’s.

Remembrance Day came and went. She was nowhere near finished; not even halfway through. Not even a quarter. “I know,” thought Yvette, “I’ll get it done by Christmas!”

Christmas came and went. “I know,” thought Yvette, “I’ll get it done by New Year!” New Year came! Would you believe! Yvette had finished the As! She finished at 11 o’clock on New Year’s Eve!

Midnight came. It was the New Year. The computer program deleted all the poppies left in the past year. This was a New Year. The leaving of poppies would start from scratch.

1329. The sound of silence

Twelve year old Stacey Cunningham’s rendition of Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child was the clearly the highlight of the service held for Veterans yesterday, according to a spokesperson for the Veterans, who wished to remain anonymous. Since then, the committee has changed its tune.

Angelica Flopp thought that “the choice of song showed a great lack of sympathy for those present who may have been orphaned or lost a parent during the war. There was no need to rub it in.”

Billy Le Blanc agreed. “The song mentions religion, and it was most unsavoury having to listen to religious references when not everyone present was a believer. In fact, it was downright offensive to most of the audience who are either atheists or agnostics.”

As a result, the organizing committee have met and decided that next year, so as not to cause offense, all songs will be replaced with periods of silence.

1035. Uncle Kemp

Today in Australia and New Zealand it is ANZAC Day. ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and is on the anniversary of the greatest defeat at Gallipoli during WWI. The day celebrates the memory of all fallen soldiers and those who served.

I want to tell you a fairly silly thing about my great-uncle, Kemp Scrimshaw, who served in the First World War. He was called Uncle Kemp, although his real name was William Hector. I never knew him, but I happen to live today in the same town in which he died. So every ANZAC Day I visit his grave in the Veterans’ Cemetery and place a poppy on it. Such are the everyday people living ordinary lives, who served in brutal wars…

My older brothers and sisters knew him. He worked in a factory that made lollies. (We call them lollies – some countries call them candy and some sweets and some bonbons and some confectionary and so on.) Anyway, Uncle Kemp worked in a lolly factory after the First World War and always brought my brothers and sisters lots and lots of lollies! Lots of lovely lollies!

I think of his kindness every ANZAC Day when I place the poppy. You see, his grave is only a few feet away from the entrance to the biggest lolly factory in the country!

May he, and all who served, rest in peace.

762. All my love

762dickpeers

A departure today! In honour of Armistice Day (Remembrance Day, Veterans Day) I’m posting a recording made in New York during World War II of my mother’s brother, Dick Peers. Air force personnel, upon finishing their training in Canada, would head straight for New York before returning to war.

Nola Luxford, a New Zealand-born actress from Hastings NZ, the same town my uncle came from, had founded the ANZAC Club in New York. Throughout the war, her club hosted over 35,000 New Zealand and Australian troops. My uncle made this recording there to send home to his parents. I hope you can understand his fairly strong New Zealand accent! The Margaret mentioned was a sister, as was my mother, Doreen.

He never returned from war.