Remembering those that have served in wars

This Sunday, Nov. 11 marks another year of remembrance as red poppies are pinned to the lapels of coats.

In the span of 365 days, the calendar year is filled with multiple festivities ranging from family-fun gatherings to more sobering recollections of reminiscences.

There is always at least one occasion per month that is looked upon with either joy or sadness, and in some cases, a whole month is dedicated to a certain cause.

This Sunday, Nov. 11 marks another year of remembrance as red poppies are pinned to the lapels of coats.

From the tragedy of the First World War to the Second, the nuclear tension of the Cold War and the Vietnam and Korean wars in between, there has been no shortage of violence over the last two centuries.

The most recent clashes in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed again by the unrest in Syria, Libya and Egypt, have kept the news saturated with violence and political chaos.

Though veterans from the first two world wars are no longer as prevalent as they have been in previous years, a younger generation (the peace keepers) can be seen joining the ranks.

Though Remembrance Day is primarily focused on the disaster of the First and Second World Wars, it is also a day to reflect on those who have served the country past and present.  I found out several years ago that my grandpa was conscripted into the Second World War as a chef on board a navy vessel.

At the time, he was a citizen of India and therefore by association under the British monarchy.

Details are still sketchy, but from what records show, he spent three days on board before his ship was attacked. The ship ultimately sunk and he managed to get away with only the clothes on his back and breathe in his lungs.

When the ship was attacked, my grandpa was in his bunk and not in the kitchens, and that alone may have been what saved his life.

I am, of course, eternally grateful he survived, as I wouldn’t be around now if he hadn’t.

It’s a close-up reminder that life is short and to count each breath as a blessing.

– Cassandra Chin is reporter for the Grand Forks Gazette