This morning when I opened my computer to social media, I was reminded it is Remembrance Day in Canada.
Personally, I prefer to have my own face on my own profile (even if it is a baby picture), so I only change it to a non-me picture when it is a special event that has to do with someone who died. Today is the first time ever that I've changed my business page profile picture. I do it, as it is Remembrance Day in Canada on 11/11, to share my father's picture.
This is William Joseph Fibish. Willy, as he was known back then, was not a fallen soldier, but he did serve in World War II. He was drafted when he was 19 and he took some training in Chilliwack and was then stationed in Sapperton (a bomb-defusing unit) in New Westminster. Thankfully, he never saw active duty. He never left BC. But he used to tell us that he spent a lot of time doing KP duty (mostly for not being quick enough or good enough at following instructions quickly I think).
For him, KP duty was peeling potatoes and helping in the kitchen. It was his lifelong thing and the one place he felt he belonged — starting with his mother to escape his father's cruelty and all the way through his life as a baker, a trade he was able to learn because when the war ended, he was given a free education at a trade school. It was part of our government's thank you and the beginning of rebuilding for all the men (and some women) who had died from 1939 to 1945.
But he did learn some dirty army songs (innocent by today's standards) that he would sing, sometimes off-key and always at the top of his lungs, while he rocked us on the big old creaking rocking chair — mainly to shock my mom.
I just realized today how lucky I am that my father did not serve on active duty. He and my uncle (who served in the Navy and who eventually married my Dad's sister) had just volunteered to go to Japan when the war ended. So many men came home from both Great Wars and were never the same. Back then they called it being shell-shocked, but I think it was more than the noise that caused them to come back as different men. It was the horrors they saw and all that they were called to do, to clean up, to man-up after seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling, and tasting. It makes me tear up to think about it.
To all the soldiers I have known, from my father to my husband, his father and all of his siblings (sister included), today I honour you and all the soldiers — those who fell in the line of duty, those who came home unscathed like my father, and those who came home with wounds we cannot see. 💜
Kathy Mercure is a storyhealer, storylistener, and storyteller. Her life’s work is to gently draw stories from her students to help them find their voice and heal their stories through journaling. Her passion is to support women in realizing their true identity as Wild Women, claiming their passions, and speaking their truth as they become their most authentic selves. (Photo by EagleSpirit Soul Shots)