Great picture of my brother, who died in 2012. He would have been 70 today. I would love to talk to him again, and especially would love his take on Trump, populism and such. Easily the smartest person in our family, though he always was humble and said that title — along with “the funniest” — belonged to our mother. This picture is from Christmas 2005.
Beautiful poem written by Roland Leighton for Vera Brittain. It was April 1915 and he was serving in France. He was killed by a sniper eight months later. (I dearly wish I had some of my uncle’s poems to his fiancee, Christine, but any letters she received, of course, stayed with her. If she kept them, perhaps her children have them – I have a hope one of her kids will see my other site and contact me, but it is possible she may never have told them about Norman.)
Violets from Plug Street Wood,
Sweet, I send you oversea.
(It is strange they should be blue,
Blue, when his soaked blood was red,
For they grew around his head:
It is strange they should be blue.)
Think what they have meant to me –
Life and hope and Love and You
(and you did not see them grow
Where his mangled body lay
Hiding horrors from the day;
Sweetest, it was better so.)
Violets from oversea,
To your dear, far, forgetting land
These I send in memory
Knowing you will understand.
My brother died six years ago today. I never have sufficient — or original — words for this anniversary, so I’ll leave it to John Ford. Alan was a big fan of Ford’s films (as am I), and Ford was fond of one hymn in particular. Enjoy these scenes from Tobacco Road, My Darling Clemetine, Wagon Master, Seven Women, Stagecoach, The Searchers and Three Godfathers.
Alan adored The Searchers, in particular.
It is VE Day, and in honour I have reposted my uncle’s magnificent letter of May 7, 1944. Please have a look.
Today is the fourth of anniversary of my mother’s passing. She loved this hymn, as do I. Fitting for Easter, as well. I love the Alan Jackson version (don’t know if mum did).
Dear readers, please don’t forget to keep checking my tumblr, where I am posting my uncle’s letters from World War II. There are still more letters to post, as well as photographs, documents and some of his poetry.
Earlier this week, my late uncle was given an Honorary Call to the Bar by the Law Society of Upper Canada. It was a beautiful ceremony and, in particular, I would like to thank Patrick Shea for being the driving force behind the event.
Five years ago my brother died. I wrote a bit about it last year here, and given that it is Hallowe’en, I want to pay tribute to Alan by mentioning an episode of Mad Men that touched both of our hearts so much, The Gypsy and the Hobo. Here is a wonderful still from the episode – I still remember talking with him about the episode for like, three hours over the phone!
In the wake of this weekend’s horror, take a moment to remember the original anti-fascist militants, including my uncle, here. (And no, I am not comparing Antifa to WWII Allied soldiers – that would be absurd and an insult to WWII Allied soldiers, as Iowahawk points out here.)