Monday, November 11, 2013

The small table with the War Artifacts

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The small table with the War Artifacts
Yesterday I attended and lead the church service at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Cobourg, Ontario.
Through a very simple but dynamic presentation we remembered together the men and women that gave their lives for Canada in different wars around the world.
One of the congregants read out the names of the men from their congregation that had died in the different wars. The list was long and each name represented a sorrow that many had never recovered from.
I shared the story that I know best about Corp. Mark McLaren, whose parents are our friends and neighbors living just two doors away from us.  In early December 2008 Mark was killed when his convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. That day the war came to our street.
My message yesterday also shared that this whole thing is more than just a Red Poppy… it is about families that will grieve forever… and that will always have one empty chair at that Christmas table in the years to come… and perhaps no grandchildren from their son as he died so very young… so far away.
As I spoke I was moved again to remember…

On a small Card table I placed some War artifacts that I have collected over these years. You can see them below… three soldier’s helmets, one lunch box, one soldier's pocket knife, three spent rifle shells, one unfired anti-aircraft shell, a small brass field gun and two oranges.
The two oranges were there to remind all of us of the rationing that all that lived in Canada experienced. I was about 9 or 10 before I saw an orange. During the war they were nowhere to be had – after the war no one could afford one even if was available.
The brass cannon was made by my dad in “the Industries” where my dad worked building guns just like this one for the soldiers overseas.  It is now 70 years old.  He couldn’t go overseas because of health issues.  The lunch box was like my Dad's lunch box as he went off to the Industries each day.
The pocket knife was a gift from my Uncle that had come back from the World War II - wanted his nephew to have it.  I was about 2 years old when he came home.
The shells were ones that I have found along life’s way. One is a Japanese shell(brass with the greenish corrosion) fired off when the Japanese invaded Hong Kong. When I lived in Hong Kong I found it on a hiking trail where the Japanese soldiers walked in 1941 to capture Hong Kong… the firing of that bullet likely killed a British soldier… and later almost 200 Canadians soldiers were executed by the Japanese soldiers one day after they arrived to defend the colony.
The helmets come from the World War I and World War II. The one(front row - right side) was brought back by a soldier that had been gassed in a trench in France… and was never again the same for his family back home. He came home by was never any good on the farm… post-traumatic stress – PTS happened in 1913 as well.
Yesterday I remembered… and cried for these men… and then I prayed for peace.
~ Murray Lincoln ~
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