It is as if Vimy is the start of what I do
Vimy is connected to family. Its personal.
This I learned many years ago from my grandmother who told me stories about her father…..which were…..upon reflection…..stories her mother had told. This was the man Grannie knew…..memories…..passed from one generation to another. Grannie was two years old or thereabouts when her Papa left this plain for another place, at another battle – known as Fresnoy – now so near to a 100 years ago.
Watching this past Sunday, I learned of many who followed this desire that rises in some of us to see for ourselves. I did not go this time but have been before and will go again. There is peace in what I do. I am at home here – walking, cycling, feeling these places as they ache into the heart and allow me to find connection through the space of years from conflict to calm. What noises, sites and smells were here then and what is here now? Patient, continuous observation without the chaos, within my own plain.
There can be no doubt that the consideration to remain at home was for a reason. I did not go. I did not speak – but found solace in words and thoughts from the wreckage of this past. My Vimy was 2007 at the rededication of the Vimy Memorial when I took my Great-Grandfather’s portrait with me and upon that ridge looked into this man who somehow brought me here. That day Private Ole Berget, late of the 31st Battalion CEF seemed to say, “I have been here before……………take me home”……….he just wanted to come home.
Somehow, I like to think that this is what many of us feel when we watch amongst this emotion and search for our peace. We find ourselves, our Vimys, our Fresnoys…….…its personal.