Every year, on Veterans Day, I am reminded of the WWI fallen from my own family.
This is because, in France, the day is dedicated to celebrating the end of WWI with the signature of the armistice that day.
The picture on this post shows a tombstone in Algiers Jewish Cemetary, the only picture I have of a place I never could visit.
My mother was born there. The tomb is the family’s plot.
These are her mother’s brothers who died during the war ~ and a fourth brother also died in WWII.
My mother’s grandfather ~ the father of these brothers if you follow ~ had been a Colonel in the French Army, at the same time as the famous Captain Dreyfus.
I told a little bit in this post, too.
Jews were very patriotic always, despite antisemitism. It was an honor to send his own sons to serve the country. They paid the ultimate price of this patriotism in what has been dubbed later the worst terrible war and a “butchery”, which it was.
War is ugly.
There is no pretty war.
Veterans who are lucky to come back from wars may have come unarmed in their bodies but their soul is scarred. I cannot even fathom how they can deal with their feelings after they endured and experienced what they did.
We owe them more than just remembering to thank them for their service with gratitude. We do. But we also owe them care and employment and mental health care as a country, not as a charity.
When I remember my own great-uncles whom I never got a chance to meet and who never got a chance to give birth to sons or daughters who would talk about their stories, I also remember their mother, Rachel, my great-grandmother, and Cecile, my mother’s mother who had been the one to share with me about her beloved brothers.
I remember most what was a painful sadness lingering year after year, so strong that I was able to carry it over with me.
I remember the picture of Rachel wearing the signs of her bereavement, that she would never lose until her own death. I can’t fathom the kind of strength you need to muster once you have buried your own sons, one after the other.
My grandmother gave birth to my uncle a few days after her brother was killed, two days before the armistice was signed Nov 11, 1918.
My uncle was named after the young fallen soldier.
Would you like to receive these blogs in your inbox? Click on the link below to sign up!
As a Thank You for joining my list, I will send you The Elul Series – an accounting of the Soul one day at a time!