“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for everything good that comes to you and give thanks continuously because all things have contributed to your advancement. You should therefore include all things in your gratitude.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
WE MUST REMEMBER
Although today’s young generation can hardly be bothered about World War I, known as “The Great War”, or World War II, the bloodiest in history, many of those who fought them, survived them, or lost their loved ones in them, will never forget the atrocities these wars and others brought to their lives and forever changed them.
Having been brought up in Europe, I heard countless stories around the kitchen table about the war times during which generations of my family grew up. And although I don’t know much about my paternal family history, I know my dad lost most of his during WWII. All of his siblings except one brother perished, his father and his mom also died when my dad was just a boy. He often recalled the horrific moments when the Germans violently invaded and occupied the country, when children at schools were forced to speak German if they wished to eat or survive. Those who had difficulties with learning the foreign language were beaten and left lying in their own pain to remember the lesson.
Often times when one is in company of those who served, fought or were subjects of torture, one cannot help but be touched by their wisdom, inner strength and courage that often goes unmentioned. Sitting in their quiet contemplation without much complaining, in patient humbleness they teach us about life and death. It’s saddening but healing at the same time just to be in their presence. They don’t say much and although they do recall all the dirty and unfair details, it is often that which they omit that says a solemn story of survival.
We tend to complain about much these days, we tend to take a lot of things for granted and we often fail to appreciate all that we do have. Perhaps today some of us will pause for a moment in honor of those who had little but gave a lot, sometimes even paid the ultimate price of their own lives for us to keep ours. Perhaps, just today, we will express our deep gratitude for all that we have and have been given because of those who were brave enough to fight for our freedom.
By Sharka Waite