Lest We Forget

Happy Remembrance Day, everybody.

I wondered if “happy” was an appropriate word to use here, and finally decided that it was. I know that if I had laid down my life for the sake of future generations, I’d want them to be happy about it. Knowing they were enjoying what I gave them would be good enough for me.

As an archivist, I’ve found the phrase “lest we forget” has taken on new meaning for me. My job, after all, is to preserve what should not be forgotten, and by now I’ve come to see just how important that is.

Speaking of which, here is a picture of some very special items. My grandfather, Ken J Taylor (yes, we have the same initials) was a Major General in the Australian Army, and fought in the Korean War. Sadly he died some years ago, and as the surviving K.J.Taylor I inherited his monogrammed handkerchiefs. I also inherited these – some of his old badges and epaulettes (if that’s the right word). When they were first shown to me, I admit it – I started to cry a bit. The weight of memory was just too much at that moment.

My grandfather was a wonderful man – remarkable, to use his own favourite word – and thinking of him recently made me think of the importance of memory. In the end everyone dies, and that makes the things we leave behind that much more important.

My grandfather is gone now, but he left plenty behind. Us, his descendents, and our memories of him. He taught me so much, and not always directly. The way he lived, his view of the world, showed me how much you can learn if you just get out in the world and see what’s there. He never lost his sense of curiosity, or his sense of humour, and those are two of the greatest gifts anyone can have.

Our forebears are a part of who we are, no matter who they were or whether we even knew them. And those who died in World War One – they’re a part of us too, because they helped to create the world we live in now. And that’s something that should never be forgotten.

Lest we forget.DSC_0021

Neato text ornament here