And I Will Remember

Wreaths of artificial poppies used as a symbol...

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I remember gluing poppies to a green piece of card paper one November night. I was just six-years-old–too young to know any grief or what really happened in war. But I do remember understanding that war was bad, that it had happened, and that I needed to be thankful for those who had fought it way before I was born. Without them, I knew I might not have such a good life. And so I finished gluing the poppies on the card for my grandma’s friend, Mr. E.

Thank you for fighting in the war. I remember how Mr. E smiled when he read those words. It was remembrance day and we’d gone to visit him. My sister and I sat on his knee and he showed us pictures and well-deserved medals and a map that showed Italy like a boot. Later we had ice cream and gummy worms. We remembered but couldn’t comprehend more than what he had told us and even that was foggy.

I remember the day that Mr. E died. I was seven, I think. Mom came up the stairs and told us at breakfast. I didn’t know him well but I had known him. He had fought the war for me. And I remember burying my little face on my bed and crying tears for the one who had fought so bravely so long ago. I remembered him and I just didn’t understand it.

Remembrance days came and went throughout the years but none were as wonderful as the ones at Mr. E’s house. We still went to the ceremony and all, but it wasn’t the same as talking to a real, live soldier. I learned more about war in school and thought of him when I did. We missed him and remembered some more though we still did not understand.

One year, I tried to write a story about a girl like me who had lived back then in World War 2. She was Jewish though and had to hide because of the Germans. I imagined that I was her and thought it very romantic. I was ten-years-old. I remembered though I was far from understanding it all.

Last year, I went to the ceremony with thoughts of my friend who was applying for the military. I imagined him in a uniform, going off to war. I gulped and fought back tears at the thought of remembering him. And then, I thought I understood.

Now I have all of these memories flashing through my mind on this remembrance day. I remember them all as if they happened just yesterday. But do I understand? No, I never really did. War and peace, sacrifice and death, love and life. One broken world. This grief has not been mine in full and never will be. I can remember but I don’t understand.

But because I can remember, on this day and others, I shall. I am thankful for veterans, for soldiers, sacrifice, and Jesus. Today, I remember and I am grateful that I can.

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A Beautified Life

These are slave laborers in the Buchenwald con...

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Tonight my Socials books are open, and my hands are typing notes at an obsessive rate. My brain is trying to cram as much information into my memory as it can for my big Social Studies final tomorrow. Unlike some students may be though, I’m not bored or sleepy. No, instead my emotions are stirred, and my eyes grow sharper at each word. I’ve been in this course since September, and I have heard this stuff before many times but still it generates new amazement, shock and horror in my mind.

Hatred. Riots. Genocide. It makes me shudder. Bombs that killed. Bombs that were mistakes. U-boats that sunk supply ships. What were they thinking? Internment camps. Auschwitz. The Final Plan…It brings tears to me eyes. All because they weren’t the ‘right kind of people.’ How could such hatred exist?

It wasn’t just one man, or one time. It was a group of people. Confused people. Sinful people. Wrong people. And they weren’t just in “foreign” countries but in my country, in Canada…”enemy aliens” were sent to live in Internment camps, their possessions were sold, and they were treated with horrible disrespect. A group of Jews on the St. Louis ocean liner were sent back to death in Europe because Canada did not think they would be the “right fit.” Where was the love?

But there was another man, who emerged in a very different time, amongst an extremely similar group of people. He was a King, and He claimed to have power. But His power was different…oh so very different that it cannot be compared to the others. He had the power of love…true power. And with that love, He was nailed to a cross. Humiliated. Beaten. Torn. Killed. Just like the victims of war.

And He came for those people…the unjust and the victims alike, those with brown hair and black eyes and the others with blonde hair and fair skin, the disabled and the healthy…anyone and everyone. He used His power for good, for people, for Love. Because of Him, we have hope. While there may be wars, and injustice, people dying and children crying, we all, no matter what we have done or will do, look like, or where we are from, can have the promise of eternal life in Heaven with Him. We just have to believe and love Him.

Now I ask, how  could such love exist? How? For a person like me, for a people like us. It isn’t possible but it is.

It’s a mess, yes. But Jesus came and saved that mess and turned it into something beautiful. He changed our hatred to love, and gave us a promise that will never be broken. He came to save you! It’s something worth living for, something worth the strife. Jesus offers a beautified life. If you haven’t already asked Jesus into your heart, I encourage you to think about His promise and accept it for yourself.