Tuesday November 11th, is Remembrance Day in Canada; the day set aside for remembering all those who serve and served for the country of Canada. We particularly remember those who gave their lives in the various wars that we have been involved in.
My brother Russ served in the Royal Air Force during World War 2, but he did come home.
He was the second oldest child born in a family of ten. I was the last one born so he was married before I came along. We were a close family though, so I saw him frequently, but as we didn’t grow up together I didn’t know all there was to know about him.
When I was older, my oldest sister used to tell me about times before I was born. She told me how Russ went into the Air Force during the second world war, but that when he came home he was a very different person than before he left. He was stationed in England, and flew 47 combat missions as Flying Officer/ Navigator. He saw far too much loss of life and destruction and in fact when he came home he questioned even his faith, because he just couldn’t make any sense out of it all. I don’t know if back then they called it PTSD or not, but that is likely I believe what he had.
For much of his life, while he worked and got married and had children, he was a very restless man as I remember him. He loved his family very much of course, and was a good father, but it wasn’t till later on that he actually I believe began to heal, and once again embrace his Christian beliefs.
Russ lived to be 79 and was very active until the last few months of his life with cancer. in 2011. Just a few weeks before he passed away, was the first time he ever spoke to me about his time in the RAF. He didn’t recount it as glory because that is certainly not how he thought of it. He said how close it came to not winning this war. He used to attend the reunions of the men he flew with in the RAF Squadron 226, but of course many had passed on with each successive year.
So this remembrance day I will remember all those who served or do now serve in any form of the Military, but I will as I do every year, remember my brother Russ, and the fact ‘he did come home’.