snapshots of an idle mind

November 12, 2005

November 11, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — sassinak @ 1:35 am

today passed with little apparent fanfare but i confess i ended up working through 11am. I meant to take a moment of silence but i had a client at eleven and things were a little odd anyway so i didn’t want to propose a minute off.


i’m pissed.

i’m pissed that november eleventh is no longer considered a day of rest and remembrance. and it’s not because i want another day off (although a day off in november is a great idea) it’s because some things should never ever ever be let go.

.atrocities committed in the name of war
.sacrifices made by people without names
.moments of unremembered heroism
.terror and fear and hardship
.my father and his mother coming *this* close to getting squished by a tank
.on the way to the market yet
.bringing out people’s true natures
.my uncle telling pow stories (workcamp?)
.that good people will willingly die to fight evil
.what i would lay down my own life for

we shouldn’t forget for a second what those people gave up to make sure that the world stayed free. that we are now working and doing pilates and trying to get to banks and generally not paying attention at eleven am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month?

it makes me want to weep. in fact my eyes are prickling as i sit here typing this.

apparently this year the ceremonies were more well attended then they had been in the past few years. i dearly hope so because the last few ceremonies i’ve had the luxury of attending have been quite sad in their attendance.

still beautiful though.

i remember when i was a kid we used to have an assembly and people read things and we might see a movie or just get some sort of education about it and then we didn’t have school on the eleventh. i would sit at home at 11am all solemn and earnest and do something like listen to the cbc or reflect on the sacrifices that had allowed my existence.

i felt most appropriate participating in ceremonies when i was in the air cadets. i’m sorry i don’t have the sass in her uniform pic scanned. must.get.a.scanner. we would gather together and solemnly check each other’s poppies and belts and boots before we gathered in ranks to march with the veterans and the bands.

there was something so moving about that. and it wasn’t because people were watching me march. it was because i was sharing in this moment of respect and thanks. i got to really say thanks by doing something. it felt… respectful.

i guess i was always an old soul. i thought it was something that i had developed over the years but i don’t suppose that it’s true.

ironically i finish a day that is rife with solemnity and melancholy in a fantastic mood. i went climbing with s and we ran into her interest and he climbed with us *all* night and at some point mine showed up and displayed pleasure that i was there and there was much smiling across a crowded gym floor.

it was pretty much a great day at the climbing gym all around and on top of the fun with boys the climbing was awesome. i have a new move to work and i’ve gotten to know more of the ‘cool’ folks at my gym and i sent my 5.10- like it was a 5.9. My other 5.10- is gone but fair enough, it’s old. Still there’s a new one and I think if i can figure out the start i can climb it.


i really really want to take my lead climbing course.

see that? that’s what’s wrong with rememberance day now. i just went sideways in a second because i went climbing (and then for beer and food and gossip about boys *lmao*) and had a lovely night. i totally forgot about how today is supposed to be serious.

and that sucks.

it sucks that we don’t remember anymore that we should give a shit. because when we don’t remember that we *should* give a shit we don’t remember why we cared in the first place. and when we forget why we said never again?

well all hell breaks loose doesn’t it?



  1. I’m also pissed about a day of such little remembrance. I asked my kids if anything was said about Veteran’s Day at school and both said no.

    How can we expect our children to learn from past experiences if they are never taught about the sacrifices made for us?

    Call me sappy, but I always tear up when I see the Veterans march by at a parade. I don’t know first hand what attrocities they had to endure, but I appreciate it just the same.

    Thanks for shedding some light on this subject, Sass.

    (I need to go to bed ’cause I don’t think I’m makin’ much sense here.)

    Comment by SignGurl (Jenn) — November 12, 2005 @ 4:23 am | Reply

  2. i think you made perfect sense

    and i always tear up too!

    Comment by sassinak — November 12, 2005 @ 10:52 am | Reply

  3. Sass, as always you have documented in your brilliant manner what Veterans Day is all about:
    Our ancestors sacrificed and died valiantly so that you and I would HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY to live our lives in freedom!
    I truly dont believe that they would want us to be sad on the 11th, but just to acknowledge them and what they did for us, and then to move on and have fun.
    My Dad will be 81 in Dec, a WW2 vet, and I am so proud of what he did for all of us-
    Thanks to all our veterans!
    I say thank you every day!

    Comment by whitesgem — November 12, 2005 @ 11:38 am | Reply

  4. Amen Sass. God i love ya for telling it like it is, and making it beautiful.


    god bless our veterans… Canadian and American.

    *Standing to attention and saluting bravely*

    btw – for some reason my link to you isn’t working from my blog. I have every intention on fixing it later… wanted to read your stuff first. It’s weird though, because when I click on it, it says “you shouldn’t see this”

    I wanted to say “no shit” LOL

    :) en

    Comment by Everything nice — November 12, 2005 @ 12:07 pm | Reply

  5. gem: watch it my head will swell up so big that i won’t be able to get through doors!

    i don’t think that they would want us to be sad but at the same time i believe they would feel it crucial that we PAID attention to the date and it’s meaning… you’re right though, solemn in the morning and party at night!

    bubbles: geeze there goes my swelled head!

    i am sad that i did not make it to the ceremony this year but i definetley felt the day. and i missed my standing at attention minute at eleven am more than expected!

    it’s because you linked and my blog is while my website is :)

    glad you guys appreciate my sentiment.

    Comment by sassinak — November 12, 2005 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  6. My employer thought enough to make the one minute silence a priotiry but it as still only one minute.

    Both my grandfathers were WW2 vets.
    No stories. Just moved on.

    My ex’s maternal grandfather said very little about his tour except that he flew the B-24 Liberators over France. Many years ago her mother (a child at the time) was running along in the house singing a quaint song about a bridge in a town in France. He looked up from his newspaper out of the blue & said matter of factly, “Oh. I bombed that bridge…” This of course silenced the little girl singing. He barely spoke of the war ever after that.

    Comment by green_hedonist — November 12, 2005 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  7. i respect your boss for doing even that. it seems these days that that’s all one can expect. i missed even that this year :(

    funny thing that, the stories in my family have only recently started coming out and the one thing i know for sure is that it must have been terrible. i know this because they only ever tell the stories that are funny.

    and they’re black funny the way war of the roses is awfully funny. you’re laughing your head off and you’re appalled that you’re doing it.

    ‘sur le pont d’avignon, on y danse on y danse’


    Comment by sassinak — November 12, 2005 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  8. I really just want a day off so I can catch up on sleep. Oh sleep how I miss thee, I don’t really care who dies for my day off, just as long as it isn’t me.

    Comment by -RM — November 12, 2005 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  9. I come from a military family. My father was a first generation American and spent his entire adult life in the service, my mother searching to escape small town America became a nurse and got her wish to break free from farming and the life she so hated.
    Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, Independence Day…. we tend to make productions out of these holidays.

    My friends in my age group tease me, the way they can always find my home is it is the only one in the entire neighborhood that flies the American flag. I am far from a fanatic who feels the USA can do no wrong – I don’t support the war the USA is currently involved in…but I do support the young men and women who are fighting it. I feel there is a great debt owed to the men and women who have served to keep the people they love at home safe and to protect innocent people abroad.

    I know here in Orlando – the banks were closed, the mail didn’t get delivered, the courts were closed but the County, the City offices and schools were all open for business and there was a small unpublicized wreath laying in one of the parks in the center of downtown. Today there was a parade in downtown – Orlando has a large retired military population but with each passing year, there are fewer and fewer of the vets participating or watching. Almost no children and young people attend. 4 days a year, I fly the flag from my father’s coffin – Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day and his birthday. It’s a sad thing knowing that my generation and younger, don’t know or don’t care about the sacrifices made by their grandparents. It’s an unpleasant reminder that while we feel all safe and secure…no one really is safe and secure. There is a crack in the illusion after 9/11 but it seems that many people are able to turn a blind eye to it. I am glad to hear that you remember and keep those things in your heart ~HUG~

    Comment by grainne — November 12, 2005 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  10. grainne: thank you. thank you so much for posting this comment. i’m tearing up a little reading it. my family was intimately affected by the second world war but did not participate in it in a military way. my grandfather flew TRI WING bombers in WWI though.

    i think that the day we forget the veterans and the dead is the day that we repeat history. i fear that that time is upon us once more in this modern crusades we find ourselves unwittingly involved in.

    i am SO on the side of the men and women who are serving their countries as proudly as they can. it’s their commanders who have me shaking my head with grief and rage so deep that i cannot articulate them.

    my heart cracks a little everytime i see a fire truck with lights blaring and i touch my heart and wish the universe to pass on a tiny bit of luck from my daily allottment to those people. i feel the same exact way toward anyone who joins their country’s military.

    here too, no banks and no mail and i don’t know about the courts. there were DEFINETELY ceremonies here though. of course toronto is huge and is a seat of provincial government.

    someone has to remember. i wish more people did.


    Comment by sassinak — November 12, 2005 @ 6:03 pm | Reply

  11. don’t start speaking french Sass, it’s gonna put me over tha top.

    yes, yes I knew what the issue was with the link as soon as I clicked on it.

    hmmmm… wishful thinking! LOL

    I have a fear of manipulating my template whilst the kiddos cavort at my ankles… did that once and damn near deleted my whole blog!

    my heart cracks a little everytime i see a fire truck with lights blaring and i touch my heart and wish the universe to pass on a tiny bit of luck from my daily allottment to those people. i feel the same exact way toward anyone who joins their country’s military.

    That was beautiful, and I want you to know that I for one completely agree… besides, I think you know by now that especially in my house… we know the importance of the sacrifices us jarheads make for our countries.

    *holiday kisses*

    Comment by Everything nice — November 12, 2005 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

  12. Sassinak…it’s an odd thing how our lives can be so changed by something that seems like so very long ago. My father was a first generation American – his family fled Germany and settled in Iowa. They changed everything – surname, religion, and occupations just to fit into that little sleepy farming community. It wasn’t until years after my father died, that his mother died…however she shocked a very strict catholic family by asking for a rabbi on her deathbed instead of a priest. One thing about skeletons in the closet is they like to be taken out and walked once in a while and that skeleton almost destroyed the family. One of my cousins did some research – found out where they originally were from and with the help of two different Jewish genealogy groups, was able to get enough information about the family members who did not leave when my grandparent’s families left – actually the information is mainly birth records and records from the concentration camps where they were executed.

    Remembering those people, their actions….keeping their memories alive and passing this information on to the next generation is so important. However getting that information from the people that lived it, is not an easy task. It’s a two sided sword in with my eldest son…he has the German/Jewish heritage from my side…Native American on his father’s side. Horrible atrocities that both sides have survived…one of the biggest differences, is the indigenous people of the Americas are still suffering. There is a movement to get some sort of holiday to commemorate the suffering of the Native Americans…I don’t think it will ever happen as it means someone has to admit to wrong doing and we all know how government hates to admit it was wrong…even hundreds of years ago.

    Comment by grainne — November 12, 2005 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  13. What do you think has become of the young and old men?

    And what do you think has become of the women and children?

    They are alive and well somewhere;
    The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
    And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
    And ceased the moment life appeared.

    All goes onward….and nothing collapses,
    And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.

    Walt Whitman

    Sorry about the quote, it’s rather like plucking a verse from the bible out of context and shaking it rightously in the face of a neighbor. But, I feel that somehow these words apply on a day of rememberence.

    Comment by Light Strikes A Deal — November 12, 2005 @ 7:35 pm | Reply

  14. sass: this was a great post, and I appreciate you for making it.

    Guam has a very high percentage of men and women who join or have served in the military. A lot of it goes back to being occupied by Japan during World War II, hoping and knowing the U.S. would come back for us (eventually) and liberate us, and then them actually doing that.

    We’re a grateful people with long memories. We give back with our service to our country.

    My dad’s grandfather was a police officer who worked with the U.S. military right after the war. My dad served almost 30 years in the Air Force. Four of his brothers served — Navy, Army and Marines. All did at least one tour in Vietnam.

    My brother James and brother-in-law Joe are both in uniform right now. My brother did two tours in the Middle East.

    So I appreciated the sacrifices made by our veterans … and, for that matter, by YOUR veterans … and ALL veterans.

    I know that in the United States, Memorial Day is the “bigger” day toward those who served, because it honors those who died in service, but here on Guam both days are pretty important. It’s a federal holiday, but the local government also takes the day off. And you could argue that Liberation Day, for when the Marines landed to liberate Guam at the end of WW2, is a day to honor the military as well.

    I agree that more people need to take the holiday more seriously, and remember the sacrifices and service of our veterans.

    But I also don’t think you should feel bad for having a good time on the day. Because you DID honor them for the day, you did you part and then some. I don’t think any veteran would expect you or want you to be all somber and serious for a full 24 hours, or even for the full day you are awake.

    Plus, you went above your personal observations by blogging about it and getting it out to all of us. You made us think about it, and others.

    You did a great thing here, sass, and I don’t think anyone else who reads this post will say that I’m exaggerating.

    Thank you. *smooch*

    Comment by DZER — November 12, 2005 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  15. Every year I call dad and tell him “thanks”. Every year he says nothing at all…then tells me how hard it is keeping what he saw bottled up.

    Dad was ‘nam, spent time as an advisor. Had a Colt 45 on his side though they couldn’t use ’em. As someone with a strong French heritage he had a problem being there in the first place. When Americans started dying there was nothing he could do. Back stateside then another few trips as a LuRP. That’s all he’s said, I found out about his LuRP stuff from a guy who was in his unit at the same time. 7 or 8 guys would go out, 2 or so might return.

    I honor vets, always have. Not so much with the recent “events”, I guess I’ve not ran into any GW guys who are as fucked up as my dad is.

    One damn thing…watching then unveil and dedicate the Vietnam Memorial in DC back in 1982 was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen. Not sickening, but…I won’t forget it.

    At the time I was going to join the Army, like Dad. He said that he thought it wasn’t a good idea….I had no idea why. I knew he was in SE Asia but that’s it. He invited me to DC one w/e, I was ok with it. Was out of the house at 3am, pulled up to a parking lot. Shit, it’s his vets group. Got on the bus, it was very quiet. No one talked. Saw more than a few guys crying. I pulled my hoodie over my head and tried to hide from it.

    Arrived in DC, Dad went off with a guy he knew who closed the unit down that Dad started (that was odd, they were at lunch one day, dad saw a patch on a wall and said “I helped start that unit” and the guy he was lunching with said “and I closed it down”). Bob, a buddy of dad’s who was in a wheelchair, asked me to push him. I did, since I really liked Bob. We watched the politicians speak, I hear a lot of negative feedback and saw a LOT of gestures that I’d never seen. damn…so much guys missing limbs or walking around in a daze. Anyway, after the dedication Bob asked me to push him to the Wall. I tried…but couldn’t. He grabbed me by the shirt and said “you want to join the Army? then push me fucker..”. I pushed him along…and he stopped at each column and touched the names. I cried like a damned baby until there was nothing left. Eventually Bob stopped, asked me to pencil a few names for him, then we left.

    As we got farther away from the Wall and it was no longer in view he turned to me and said “i was a LuRP like your dad. 3 times out. 23 guys out, 5 returned. last trip i was the only person to survive. made it home, called dad (his dad) to pick me up, he called me a baby killer and hung up”. Woah. “On the way back from the airport I was walking along and was hit buy a drunk driver. see? all of that time in the jungle and I live, i return home and almost don’t”. Ok, this is freaky. “Your dad doesn’t want the same for you. ask him why you live in VA now and never see your grandparents”.

    5 years later I did. Grandma (bitch) spit on dad when he returned home. He went off this bright kid who was a cutup, probably had no future but had spirit. Returns home this fucked up mess. All he wanted was a hug, didn’t even need acceptance from his folks.

    Thanks, Dad. Thanks, Bob. Welcome home.

    On that note I’m going across the street to a bar for some shots.

    Comment by castufari — November 12, 2005 @ 9:53 pm | Reply

  16. *little sigh*
    you guys.
    hand on heart
    damn you guys
    you blow me away.

    bubbles: allora non vado parlare in italiano.

    i owned that for a while but i didn’t do anything with it so i let it go. .ca as well. i only kept the .net address.

    my cat has deleted emails before.

    wow. i wrote that. wow. that’s for making me notice that i said that.

    anyway yeah i know that you are most definetely a family that remembers. make sure that your children do as well (sure that you do already actually)

    had a nice day today culminating in cookie baking with othercat and hubris’ housewarming party.

    grainne: wow.

    yeah… wow.

    i don’t know anyone else with that kind of history. that’s pretty amazing. i knew that people did that sort of thing but i wasn’t like involved so it didn’t feel as real. thank you for sharing that.

    they don’t talk about it do they? they make jokes and tell the same old funny stories adn then they sort of get this look on their faces and then they discuss the soccer.

    i wouldn’t object to a day of remembrance for racism or something. there’s a lot of groups that have survived atrocities in north america. some more shared holiday for everyone? it’s just there are financial considerations too…

    Comment by sassinak — November 13, 2005 @ 12:52 am | Reply

  17. lsd: i like it. so that makes it appropriate here. and thank you. what’s that from?

    dzer: thank you. thank you for the compliment and for sharing.

    the canadians are universally revered in parts of europe due to their actions on world war 2. don’t get me started on that stuff or i’ll start crying for real. if they find out you’re canadian in holland you can’t buy your own beer.

    but in canada we don’t really do memorial day so we don’t have a remembrance day that’s a ‘holiday’ at all. and that’s shitty.

    thank you for your words dzer, they mean a lot. i’m glad that i got people thinking, it’s the only thing i really want to accomplish with my blog.

    if you just think about something for one second on some other way… well maybe your life will change.

    you’re welcome, and thank you.

    Comment by sassinak — November 13, 2005 @ 12:58 am | Reply

  18. cast: *sniffle*

    thank you for this.

    personally i honour the ones who are in uniform now as much as the ones then. it’s not any less courageous to join the military these days than it ever was. of course when you join up during wartime you get bonus points but anyone who has ever stood up in a uniform and taken an oath to serve their country deserves our respect. the ones you turn out to be assholes? not so much.

    sort of like cops. respect them all but be willing to be wrong on occasion… I’m really sad that you’re from the kind of family that believes that such fundamental disrespect is acceptable behaviour. that shit sucks.


    Comment by sassinak — November 13, 2005 @ 1:04 am | Reply

  19. Never again until the economy needs a boost. Never again until some dictator somewhere pisses someone off.

    Funny how we go into Iraq screaming about rights yet it wasn’t too long ago when the KKK was active in the south and black folks didn’t have the right to vote. How quickly we forget.

    Comment by castufari — November 13, 2005 @ 9:03 am | Reply

  20. rights was only the excuse in iraq. the us appears to be nation building in the biggest way.

    the modern empire is going to run into china and then all hell will really break loose.

    Comment by sassinak — November 13, 2005 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  21. Oy, Sass. Oy.

    I completely agree with you.

    It’s funny, at the UCLA football game last night they honored a Hungarian man who’d joined the U.S. military…the entire stadium (85,000 people) gave him a standing ovation by the time they’d finished announcing his accomplishments…my dad and I were in tears…and the entire time I was thinking “I bet they’re running the goddamn SportsCenter bullshit instead of televising this…”

    Too often we forget the brutality of war, and the sacrifices that are made in the name of “peace”. The least we can do is take one day, one moment of that one day, and remember.

    *golf claps through tears*

    You’re awesome for writing this. Thank you, Love.

    Comment by Blondie — November 13, 2005 @ 2:46 pm | Reply

  22. *huggggs blondie and surreptitiously wipes away a tear*

    i’m glad you got to be there for that. it sounds like a magical moment to me. and i bet you’re right about sports centre.

    you’re awesome for commenting like this. as always you’ve moved me again.

    i’m sitting here sorta nodding at my computer and making this funny smile/wry face which i just can’t put into words *laugh*

    Comment by sassinak — November 13, 2005 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  23. When China decides to pounce, it’s going to be scary.

    Wait…they HAVE!

    Comment by castufari — November 13, 2005 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

  24. i can’t fucking believe you linked WAL MART from my blog.

    that’s just uncalled for.

    Comment by sassinak — November 13, 2005 @ 8:56 pm | Reply

  25. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

    Comment by Light Strikes A Deal — November 14, 2005 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  26. dude, you were an air cadet?

    Comment by mightydoll — November 14, 2005 @ 1:18 pm | Reply

  27. lsd: thanks, i thought it seemed familiar

    doll: yup… i have pics if you visit me. well one.

    Comment by sassinak — November 14, 2005 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

  28. crrrazy!

    Comment by mightydoll — November 14, 2005 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

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