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Remembrance Day November 11TH

War is a part of our lives whether it is something we learned in history class, have lived through ourselves or have lived with it because our father lived during a war and took an active part in it as a soldier.

For me it was and is a very important part of my life. My daddy grew up during the Netherlands occupation by Germany and in 1944 became a resistence member during WWII with the Dutch Underground, then a recognized soldier with the 9th Army US Provost Marshall after his area was liberated from occupation and then in 1945 when his government asked for volunteers to go tothe Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) he became a Stoottroeper. Eventhough WWII was officially over then his trip to Indonesia was a result of that war so there is a relation. Although the war was long over when I was born in Canada, where my daddy emigrated in 1948 after Indonesia, the war played a major role in my life as what he experienced during his life in Holland molded the man he was and the way in which he raised me.

War is not about special battles or certain dates, it is about people - the people who lived with it every day whether in an occupied country, or as a soldier in the midst of battle - for it changed that person forever because of what they saw and were forced to do to simply survive. Those survivors live through the war every single day of their lives whether it is in a way hidden to the outside world - such as in their dreams at night, an event that triggers a memory, photographs from that time, watching a movie on television - or blatanly obvious in physical wounds and scars. War scars a person forever.

To truly learn about war and history we need not to memorize dates and battles but to learn about the people who lived through it for it is only then can we see and understand war for what it truly is --- a horrible life changing experience.

So please, please take a moment and REMEMBER, SAY AND PRAYER AND A THANK-YOU for all those past and present who offer and continue to offer their very lives to protect us and those yet unborn so that we may enjoy our lives to the fullest, without fear, without the terrors that war brings.

Thank you Daddy for what you did. I'm proud of you.

An old man stands on the sidewalk
dressed in a uniform
one size to small
five decades old
smelling of mothballs
the last of his regiment
but each crease is sharp
every button gleaming
the collar perfectly starched
on his chest are ribbons and medals
his bearing is erect
pride and dignity shine in his eyes
and in his gnarled hands sits a box
in the box are plastic poppies on a pin
the old man waits for people to notice
he is sure they will stop
take a poppy
and contribute a quarter or two
after all Remembrance Day is coming
they will remember
they will take a poppy to wear
to show their pride and gratitude
He stands patiently
watching as the people walk by
the older people stop
smilke, take a poppy, put a dollar in the can
for they remember as he does
a few others stop,
take a poppy, drop in some change
smile and tell him about
their dad or uncle or grandpa
but they are few
a few snicker
laughing at the old man
commenting on how ridiculous he looks
in his old, too small uniform
standing out in the cold
others look at him with pity
for the poor old man
living in the past
but he continues to stand there
his bearing a little less erect
a moistness gleaming in his eyes
but then he straightens
for he is a soldier
he answered when his country called
he served his nation
with everything he had
he offered his life for others
they will remember
he knows it
some young ones approach
but to him they're all young
it's hard to tell their age
they stop next to him
they understand he thinks
realize what he did
want to honour those died in the war
to say thank you to the few who remain
they know that their freedom was won
by him and others like him
he smiles with pride
then it happens
the one speaks
"It was so long ago"
"ancient history"
"forget about it"
"go home Old Man"
"No one cares anymore"
the old man's face crumbles
tears shine in his eyes
his bearing is no longer erect
the pain radiates around him
far worse pain
than anything caused during the war
he is now nothing but an old man
dressed in a uniform
one size to small
five decades old
smelling of mothballs
with a box of plastic poppies on pins

written by Maria Sutherland Oct. 1998

I wrote this in the hope that when next Veteran's/Memorial Day and Remembrance Day comes around and Poppies are sitting on counters, or as here in Canada a Veteran with a box of poppies stands out in the cold you don't just walk past, that you stop, take a moment and get a Poppy and wear it for everyone to see. It's such a simple thing that means so much.

Josef M. van Duinhoven 1920-1956
My Daddy

Dear Lord
Please let me have regular dreams like others do
Not these nightmares of memory
Let my dreams be filled with light and joy
Not smoke and terror
Let me hear the laughter of children
Not the screams of men dying
Let the birds fill the air with song
Not the sounds of bombs and bullets
Let the rivers run pure and clear
Not red with blood
Let everyone be healthy and whole
Not missing limbs and faces
Let the earth look as you made it
Not scorched and cratered
Let me wake up smiling
Not searching for the enemy
Let the sweat on my pillow be from summer's heat
Not the sweat of fear and anxiety
but dear Lord most of all
I beg you
Please don't let my children or their children
pray to you as I am doing tonight

Written by Maria Sutherland
September 16, 1999

To learn more about my daddy and give you a glimpse of what it was like to be a soldier during WWII please visit

Lest We Forget - A Tribute to My Daddy and All Veterans
This is a piece of history from a Dutch soldier, my daddy, taken in Holland, Germany and after WWII in Indonesia.

and if you have time
In Memory of My Daddy
A little bit about the man I love and miss so much.

These are very special pages to me so please take a moment to visit them and sign the guestbook on my WWII site.

There are also many other rooms in my house which you are more than welcome to pull up a chair and enjoy so go ahead just click on the arrow in the QuickNav bar and find the room that appeals to you most.

Please Sign my Guestbook or View My Guestbook
or you can email me at

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