Wednesday, 3 May 2017

5 Mei (May 4, 2015)

It has been said
My generation can't relate
To the sacrifice
Previous generations have made
For us.

And yet
For me.

Every time
I see or hear
My last name.

Am reminded
Of the ultimate price
For freedom
Of my paternal homeland.

As more than
7, 600 Canadian soldiers
Are buried
In Dutch graves.

Tomorrow
Marks seventy years
Since German command
Surrendered.

Having grown up
In Canada
I heard stories
About the Hunger Winter.

How my aunt
And her family survived
By eating flower bulbs.

But
Very little
From my dad.

Except for
One post-liberation story.

In which
He and other boys
Lit cigarette cans
With gasoline and bullets.

Until
Parents stopped it.

For liberation was
An early birthday present
For my dad
As his birthday is
May 12th.

With these somber ceremonies
Am reminded
Of the lost
His death

And his connection
With this past
I need.

Wanting to share
My heartfelt thanks
To those soldiers.

By placing
A bouquet of red tulips
And a white rose
On every monument
That  honours
Canadian grave sites
In the Netherlands.

With my dad
By my side.

Sadly
He died
On November 15, 1998.

Still
In five years time
I feel this need
To honour them
And my dad.

In marking
Seventy-five years
Of liberation

And my fiftieth year.

Therisa © 2015


15 comments:

  1. It's sad that we have to bring an offering for those that died, so sad that that it happened in the first place... and I just feel blessed that we live in a time at relative peace. I wonder when the gasoline will be burnt again...(and where)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The dreamer, in me, Bjorn, wants to say, never again, but history says, otherwise.

      Delete
  2. No one should ever forget. I won't stop it happening again, but at least we can't plead ignorance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, with the passage of time, those remember this, are no longer alive, to share this history, with today's children. Although, Canadian vets are treated like royalty, in the Nederlands.

      Delete
  3. I was in Holland about 30 years ago and toured the tulip fields. The guide, a woman in her 60's told of how the Dutch people ate their precious tulip bulbs to keep from starving. She wept and we wept with her. This is a moving and lovely tribute to your father

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Toni. My aunt, who at the time, lived in the southern port of Rotterdam, shared her memories, which included eating flower bulbs, as Allies planes bombed there, during the winter of 1944-45. My opa and oma were spared this, as they were farmers, thus had access to food, in the north of the Netherlands.

      Delete
  4. In my many years there have been far too many wars, far too many young men and women with lives cut short. When will we learn?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bev, I wish I had an answer, for you, that doesn't sound glib, as soon as it leaves my mouth. Truthfully, I don't have an answer.

      Delete
  5. We will never learn, although truthfully we cling together in times of war and to some extent, change who we are, we 'acclimatise' to presenting conditions - to survive.
    That said, I will always remember, never forget, those who gave their lives in the hope of eliciting change, for they died for us.
    Anna :o]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always wonder, how my grandfather (mom's dad) dealt with the news of the men, he trained, as a tank drill instructor, who died in Europe, for Canada. Not a position, I would want to be in, myself.

      Delete
  6. This is a lovely tribute to your father and those who have made sacrifices for our country ~ You honor them with your words, memory and flowers~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope to have the money, to make this trip, in May 2020, Grace. It's one of the things, I want to do, before I die.

      Delete
  7. The past needs to be remembered, honoured, learnt from... a warm tribute.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Written with a true heart. An exceptional tribute. It read the beauty of red tulips and a white rose! Thanks for this therisa! Walter

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nice remembrance of that liberation.

    ReplyDelete

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