Day 125: Peace of my heart

Red Parka peace sign, Antarctica. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
Red Parka peace sign, Antarctica. Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

In the lead up to Remembrance Day (November 11), the Globe & Mail newspaper has been running a series of letters that were originally written during the Second World War. A Canadian soldier named David K. Hazzard originally wrote the letters to his wife, Audrey.

These letters are by turns sad, funny, revealing and, ultimately, very moving.

The first one begins: I hope that you didn’t think I was being too casual in my goodbye to you at the station. It was extremely hard to say anything to you or particularly the youngsters, and I am glad they aren’t old enough to realize the uncertainty of this last goodbye… I love you with all my heart, and this love will not alter one bit no matter how long I am away.” (July 10, 1941)

Did you know that Canada, with only 1% of the world’s population, has provided 10% of the world’s peacekeeping forces? And that, in the past half-century, Canadian soldiers have been the busiest peacekeepers on Earth, serving in 45 missions from Vietnam to East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia? Neither did I.

A while back, when I asked for ideas for future good deeds, one friend (thanks, Heather) suggested sending a letter to a Canadian peacekeeper stationed in Afghanistan.

I confess, this had never even occurred to me. My closest connection to anything remotely military was when I proudly served in the Girl Guides (Patrol leader, Bluebell troupe, thank you very much) from ages 10 to 12.

But when I started reading these Second World War letters, I got it. The loneliness, the boredom, the homesickness you can feel in every line.

So I sat down today and wrote a letter (actually posted one online at a site called “Write to the Troops”). I wrote to a man or woman I’ll probably never meet, and thanked them for risking their lives to keep the peace.

I told them how proud Canadians are for their efforts and that I’ll say a prayer for them and for peace because that’s what they’re all about. I wished them a speedy tour so they can get back to their families and loved ones in time for the holidays. For Peace on Earth.

I’ve put a link in my blogroll in case anyone else feels like dropping a line to Afghanistan — no postage required!


One thought on “Day 125: Peace of my heart

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