With the controversy surrounding the issue of White Poppies and the seeming glorification of war, it’s good to be reminded of the reasons we remember our Veterans on Remembrance Day.
Often when we think of Remembrance Day we only think of the veterans who served in the conflicts, but this pair of shorts should also remind us of the people the veterans were trying to protect.
These shorts were worn by Chris Williams of Comox from the age of eight to the age of twelve, from 1942-45, during his time in a Japanese internment camp in Sumatra. These shorts were the only thing Chris owned at the end of the war.
When you look closely at them you can see the repairs made by Chris’s grandfather, with whom Chris was reunited after being moved from the first camp he was in with his mother and sister. He used latex from the rubber trees and bone from scraps of food to repair the seams and buttons. He also fashioned a loop of wire and attached it to the shorts so that they could be hung up overnight to prevent the rats from gnawing on the bone buttons. His grandfather had lost his sense of smell and could not taste the rotten food so he continued to eat and made sure Chris ate too. By making Chris eat, his grandfather probably saved his life.
No one likes war, least of all the veterans who served, but these soldiers (and their modern day brothers and sisters in arms) were willing to fight to protect us from atrocities such as these.
It is for this willingness to give their lives in defense of our own, and not to glorify the ugliness that is war, that We Remember.