Around this time of year Remembrance Day comes and as a daughter of a military family and of parents who survived the Second World War (as many of their friends did not) November 11 was always observed with a bittersweet combination of pride and sadness. The parades, the minute of silence always gave rise to gratitude for the life that allowed me to grow up in peace, health and the ability to dream my dreams and live them.
This November I noticed a fundraising for the British Legion. To commemorate the 100 years of the end of WWI the Legion has created a Poppy Brooch specifically honouring the women who gave their lives in service during this war.
It was a whim. I thought to myself “I should order one for my mother – she is always losing her poppy.” And I do too, so I ordered one for myself. After all it is a fundraiser. It is important to support that which finally acknowledges women for their wartime contributions.
Her majesty’s postal service got it here in 4 days! What I didn’t know, not being one to read fine print, each brooch is dedicated to a specific nursing sister. Along with the beautiful pin we received a name, where she served and when she died and where she is buried.
My Pin was dedicated to Hilda Mary Knox a nursing sister in the Australian Army Nursing Service. She came from Benalla, Victoria, Australia. She served in Cairo in horrendous conditions, on troop ships and then finally France. Her memorial is in St. Sever Cemetery, Rouen. On line I found that she died of meningitis shortly after arriving in France. In Australia’s amazing War Memorial I was informed that her name will be projected on to the memorial Wednesday January 16, 2019. I won’t be there but I will be remembering.
I was very moved to wear this pin. I felt I was wearing her medals, for she who never received a medal or a pension. I felt touched with incredible gratitude for her dedication. It all came much more real than the parades, and prayers, and songs, dignitaries and poppies.
I am grateful for a curious sense of sobriety that cleared something in me. I feel a gratitude that is for life, and breath and abundance and beauty and all the opportunity still present to bring forth into my world.