Author Topic: ONE VETERAN'S VOICE By Wolf William Solkin "A TALE OF TWO CHILDREN"  (Read 1753 times)

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                                        By Wolf William Solkin

                               "A TALE OF TWO CHILDREN"

Customarily, it is I who am given to give voice to a plethora of criticisms, concerns  and complaints about how we, old( er) Veterans in particular, are about to be (mis)treated after our residence, Ste. Anne's Hospital,  falls under control of the notorious Quebec Health Dep't., come next April Fools Day. But this time,  my traditional text and tone willingly give way to that of two other, softer (children's, but not childish) voices, replete with praise and prayers pointed in my direction and that of all other Canadian Veterans.

Throughout the confluence  of tributes, testimonials and tears witnessed during the annual Veterans/Remembrance Week ceremonies at Ste. Anne's (Veterans) Hospital, perhaps the most phenomenal and most powerful impact impressed upon the Vets living out their lives here, is a significant and strong tradition, which manifests itself "under the radar" of publicity and public recognition . I refer, with deep emotion, to the hundreds upon hundreds of hand-made cards and  letters of gratitude and appreciation presented every year to our Ste. Anne's Veterans on Remembrance Day, by large numbers of wonderful schoolchildren, who invest their own time, talent and thoughts to say a simple "Thank You For Your Service".

As much as I love to hear the sound of my own words (MEA CULPA), in order for you to come close to feeling how I feel about the feelings of respect, dedication and devotion displayed by all these great kids, I will do more justice to their true sentiments if I allow  at least two of them to speak for themselves ....

The first greeting is in the form of a hand- made, hand-painted yellow craft-paper greeting card. The front cover is illustrated with a large heart, plus the words "Thank You For Everything, Veteran". Pasted on the inside is a two-page sheet of white paper, bordered by  beautiful red poppies, with , at bottom, a large dove of peace complete with olive branch in its beak, also all hand-crafted. Then the carefully writ-by-hand text, as follows (sic).....

"Dear veteran,
 Thank you for your courage, braveness and most of all, your love for our country. Thank you almost doesn't seem like a strong enough word. To think of how bravely you fought, how much you suffered and how you persisted on. Even though I actually don't know your name I know you had more courage than I ever will. You never forgot us so we will try. not to forget you.
                                                                                            Amanda E."

And if that alone doesn't float your boat, this lovely (grade 5 ?) child added her own poem on the back cover of her card, to wit.....

                                                   " Remembrance Day Poem
                                                      On Remembrance Day

                                                        We stand and pray
                                         We remember the dead, the bold, the brave
                                                       Whose lives they gave
                                               To make the world what it is today
                                       There's nothing we can really give to repay
                                      Their courage and how hardly they fought
                                           Victory and change is what they sought
                                                         Every November
                                                Just stop and Remember

                                                         - Amanda E."

And now, just in case you still have some more room in your heart, plus Kleenex in your pocket, I have the pleasure and the privilege to share with you this ( neatly typewritten and verbatim) letter, from yet another schoolgirl, who has even more personal cause to keep us Vets in her heart   and mind........

Dear Veteran
        My name is Alexa Stroll. I am a grade six student at Solomon Schecter Academy. I have a little brother named Dylan who is in grade four. My mom is a Real Estate Broker and my father works in a family business which is a jean store called Superior Pants, located Downtown.

Every year, our school writes to soldiers who have [once]served our country . This year our school decided to write to veterans such as yourself and thank them for once having served our country during those horrible times. I think that you and the few others that have survived those horrible times are very blessed. Soldiers are very dear to me and my family. My cousin is in the Canadian Army Reserves. He volunteered for a tour of duty in Afghanistan about three years ago. We all prayed every day for his safe return. He came back safe and sound and we continue praying for all the soldiers who are now on active duty.

I hope that you receive this letter soon and try to write me back if you can.
Thank you for your time and I wish you many more years to come.

                                  Alexa Stroll"

Now,  if those two youngsters' sentiments don't grab your guts, then you just don't have any. And there are many, many more like them,  from kindergarten kids to high school seniors, who follow their extraordinary example. Kinda makes it all feel "worth it", and good to know that we are, and will be, remembered by that  great, grandchild generation, doesn't it ?

[And you can bet your best boots that I'll be writing to Alexa,  just as soon as my eyes are dry ].

    And always remember...
                                            Lest We Forget....

                                                                          LEAVE NO VET BEHIND !