Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Canadian Remembrance Day is being observed today in the schools and tomorrow in the larger ceremonies. I've been to two services already today to sing in the community choir. It was quite moving. The children brought in the flags and we sang "Oh Canada" and "God save the Queen", and the bagpipes played "Amazing Grace". The choir sang a "Dona Nobis Pacem" and "Remember my Song". Tomorrow will be the huge service in Gibbons and then I'll serving lunch at home. Tomorrow the whole large school gym full of people, including the local military, will also sing "Oh God our Help in Ages past".
Remembrance Day is a very big and serious affair in our area because of the Garrison close by and the Princess Patricia Regiment serving in Afghanistan losing soldiers all the time. The regiment is sitting at 133 lives lost from quite a small contingent.
Yesterday, Martin and I,--and Kathy and Larry and Gail--did attend the Kristallnacht memorial evening and concert. It was a very special event and we were glad we attended. Elizabeth's and the quartet's playing was phenomenal and the venue was excellent. I wish I had taken a picture or a video clip. Mr. Amnon Weinstein, Luthier (vionlin maker) (any relationship to "Luther" ?) was there in person from Tel Aviv, showing his new movie on the Holocaust violins and the quartet played some of the holocaust violins he restored back to life. The evening began with the lighting of candles and contributions from young people. Two prayers were said in Hebrew, which we did not understand.
I had to cry through the Yiddish Fantasy because it was so sad and beautiful. Another piece was composed in the concentration camp in 1944, the year the composer also perished. Amnon Weinstein himself lost 400 relatives in Vilna, Latvia. His parents and he survived having left for Palestine/Israel.
The event was very gracious, tasteful and a great tribute to the memory of the people who lost their lives, the violinists and their instruments. In a way the Jewish people are showing how remembering is done properly. One can learn much from it.
Just another thought about the picture with the family on the wagon a couple of posts ago. Elizabeth's (the pianist's) mother is on that wagon, too.
On another note, in Germany, as a girl I played in the church brass band. We went out to the graves once a year and played "Ich hat' einen Kameraden, einen besseren kennst du nicht." (I had a comrade; you could not have had a better one.)
In our families we did not lose any soldiers in the war, in fact, we barely had anyone fighting. The fathers were too old and the children were too young. We lost civilians, however, through sniper fire and disease, including my grandmother Selma, whom I've obviously never met. (We all look like her. Strong genes.)
Martin's father was drafted at 15 years old, being the oldest in the family of 10 children. My oldest Uncle was in Russia, that's it. My father's father was in France for a while during WWI. He talked about sharing cigarettes with French soldiers on the bridge. I don't think he saw much action.
All of it, of course, made me think of Stefan, too, though no soldier or concentration camp victim, also lost his life so soon. I am coming around to the remembering. At first, you are just trying to protect yourself. Each memory is like a knife in the chest.