The Last Remembrance

Chris decided long ago that he could no longer endure the Ceremony of Remembrance parades and services.  It was too much for him.  He knew that he would break down and weep copious tears, sobbing at all of the memories that he could not set aside.  He could never forget!

Instead, each year, he went on his normal morning walk and found a quiet spot, apart from all human presence, and there he would remember his friends, and his enemies.  Not all had died young, not all had died in battle.  Some had not died, at least not straight away.

He remembered two young men.  They had all just returned to camp after manoeuvres and were told they could not go home until all the vehicles had been cleaned and put away.  One young man was newly married with a two week old baby.  He persuaded his friend to take him home in his car.  It wouldn’t take long, and they could be back before anybody noticed they were missing.  The car was sporty, high powered, and had a roll bar fitted.  The young driver entered a bend far too fast, lost control, and rolled the car.  It hit a tree.  The roll bar saved the life of the driver but decapitated the young father.

He remembered two young Corporals, erecting an aerial mast on top of a vehicle in Germany, right underneath a very high voltage cable.  One walked away with very serious burns, the other had horrendous burns and lost a leg and large portions of muscle mass.  Chris had the job of taking inventory of the burned vehicle and its contents and then visiting the worst injured once he left hospital to tell him that he no longer had a job but there was good news, his promotion to Sergeant had come through!

He remembered a young man who shot himself in the chest but survived, only to shoot himself in the head once he was back at work.

He remembered running for his life, literally, when it seemed that everyone wanted him dead, when all around him were falling, screaming, dying.  He would not forget!

He stood as usual, at 11am, at attention, alone.  He remembered.  How could he do anything else?

After two minutes of silence, of remembering, of trying to forget, he saluted, fell, and joined his comrades!

34 thoughts on “The Last Remembrance

  1. Powerfully written, It brings up moments of sitting with veterans and their stories. One veteran, he showed me many pictures from his service. His face before, and after, were forever changed. He didn’t have to tell me the after picture. I could see it on his face. Thank you for your service Peter.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We owe so much to those who served and died and served and lived. My parents met in the Air Force and were essential service. They were prepared to serve and die. They served and lived. We are their survivors. I remember my parents, and their friends ad family who never returned or were forever changed. Their spirits are with us still. Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This has me weeping, Peter. A heart-touching brilliant write….so powerful, so important. Thank you for this tribute.
    I am ever grateful for those who served.
    Sadly, too many who served and lived, then died later from suicide, health issues related to their service, emotional and mental issues related to their service, etc. 😦
    When I was a little girl, my oldest brother was drafted into the Army at age 18 and ended up being sent to Vietnam.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This was definitely moving. I remember my father saying that you could always tell who had seen a lot of battle. They were the guys who didn’t want to talk about the war. It must have been so hard for so many before PTSD was acknowledged and help was available. I know it’s still hard despite the recognition. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My best friend’s father parachuted into France during the American invasion. Almost all of his brothers died. He was taken for dead and kicked, but he survived. The rest of his life he drank, gambled and tried his best to take care of his family. Just because they were the “silent generation” didn’t mean they didn’t have a lot they could have said.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A very sad story Peter. I joined the Army in 1976. I knew many Vietnam veterans. They fought demons. Most, in the end. Drank themselves to death. Powerful words shared. I don’t don’t go to Memorial activities. I do go early when I can remember my friends lost in the new wars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I joined in 1964 and served for 28 years. I chose Chris for the owner of this story because he was the best man at my wedding and we served together. We are, fortunately, both still alive and the death at the end is the only element of fiction!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am glad. My father served in the Korean war and the Vietnam war. He was never right. Took him 50 years of life and a strong woman to overcome the bad memories.


  7. Pingback: The Last Remembrance – Broadsides – A collection of bits and pieces

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