TREA­SURED MEMENTOES

Spar­ing a thought for those who re­mained be­hind

Our Canada - - Commemorating Our Men And Women In Uniform - Frank Koenig, Mor­inville, Alta.

This is what I re­call most about the days pre­ced­ing Re­mem­brance Day when I was a child at home: My dad, Joseph Koenig, would al­ways bring out a lit­tle blue suit­case, which con­tained a box of mementoes from his time in the army dur­ing World War II. He’d also bring out his medals, which were dis­played in the glass front of a hand­made wooden box. Af­ter bring­ing out his medals, he’d be­gin pol­ish­ing them. When I got older, I was al­lowed to help him. He would make sure they were pinned nice and straight on his Le­gion uni­form. This was done with lots of help from my mom, who would wear her Ladies’ Aux­il­iary uni­form for Re­mem­brance Day.

It wasn’t un­til Dad moved into a long-term care home that we found out ex­actly what else was kept in his spe­cial box. It

also con­tained a large en­ve­lope with all the post­cards he’d sent home to Mom, and to each of my brothers and sis­ters—what a keep­sake! Read­ing those cards brought a tear to my eye. The box also con­tained a bracelet, scarves and all of his shoul­der patches. Also en­closed were a Cana­dian Army train­ing pam­phlet, a sched­ule for the mil­i­tary bus ser­vice, a sol­dier’s guide to Si­cily as well as a sol­dier’s ser­vice pay book.

I wasn’t born un­til 1949, so I didn’t ex­pe­ri­ence the war, but as an adult, I've had time to think about what it must have been like for my mom as well as my dad. It had to be dif­fi­cult for Dad to head over­seas to fight for his coun­try, leav­ing his wife and three kids at home to fend for them­selves. I can’t even fathom what it was like to spend five years away from home.

It had to be tough on Mom, too, be­ing left to raise the kids at home— she must have won­dered some­times if Dad would make it back. I bet Dad had the very same thoughts in the back of his mind.

We owe a debt of grat­i­tude to all those who made the sac­ri­fice to give us freedom—as well as to the wives and chil­dren who stayed at home, try­ing to make ends meet. I am so proud of my Dad and Mom.

On Re­mem­brance Day, when we thank vet­er­ans for their ser­vice, we should also spare a thought for those who re­mained be­hind.

Frank’s dad, Joseph, dur­ing wartime (above) and in later years as a Le­gion mem­ber (left).

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