for Remembrance Day
by Kathy Hollick Blee
See that grumpy old man over there?
I used to laugh and snigger when the toaster popped when he was unaware,
he used to jump out his skin and shiver.
I never understood when I got told to stop, it was funny to me!
One day when I was 18, I spoke to that grumpy old man.
I was proud to tell him I had signed up for the army,
he sat me down and said to me,
my boy I have never spoken of the past
and you never did understand why the toaster made me jump!
For I was a soldier and one day you will fully understand.
He told me about his life,
he said 'I boarded that ship and thought
will I ever see my loved one again and English homeland?'
'I went through pain every day, fighting for my life, regiment, and country,
we were frightened men in the trenches,
cold, wet, hungry with dying men around us,.
I will not speak of it today.'
I knew he was not telling me everything, he continued to say:
'One day the guns fell silent on that battlefield,
a silence not known but only dreamt of.
For the war was over,
I had survived,
I was going home with my head held high,
for I am the one who served my country for you to live and thrive today.'
He never spoke of any of it again.
He passed away a few years later, and only now do I realize
what that grumpy old man meant.
For I am a veteran sat watching my son at sports day,
to get laughed and sniggered at when I jumped and hid under my chair
when the starting gun went!
Only now do I realize that in a soldiers mind a bang could be a grenade or sniper,
it is no laughing matter!
If only I knew back then why that grumpy old man jumped and shivered at a bang.
For today, tomorrow and all days do not let shadows and memories die
of our soldiers for they are your heroes, honour, respect and remember them.
Don’t laugh at someone when they get frightened of a bang and react
as you don’t know their past.