I do not let my kids play with guns. I am not particularly fond of war or conflict. We don’t watch the news during dinner as most of it has to do with death and destruction.

War is ugly. Anyone who has been a part of it, willingly or drafted, is lucky to have come out of it. It’s a game of poker where every hand you’re all in – with your life.

I know of five family members who went to war, I’m sure there were more, but I know of five. Three came home, two didn’t. Those are pretty much the odds, aren’t they?

While it may have been nearly 70 years ago, we all have a connection to war. Draw back on the tree and you’ll find someone in your family, somewhere in the world, with a gun in a conflict.

nan and grumps

My grandfather (above) was a member of the Merchant Marines in WWII. The first ship he was stationed on, the HMCS Oakville, made a very famous capture in the Caribbean of a German UBoat. The vessel rammed U94, dropped depth charges and eventually captured the crew.

popinegyptMy great-grandfather (right) served in the Middle East in WWI and was part of the liberation forces that rolled through Jerusalem in 1917. There’s a famous photo in our family of him in uniform at the base of the Sphynx in Egypt.

Another great grandfather fought at Vimy Ridge.

My great great grandfather, William Todd, and his son, my great grandmother’s brother, also fought in WW I.

They did not come home.

The Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle commemorates the names of every Scottish war casualty since World War I. More than 200 000 names are written in books lining the hall, and upon the altar within the Shrine there is a sealed casket containing the Rolls of Honour which list over 147,000 names of those soldiers killed in the First World War.

William Todd and his son’s name is in that casket.

I may not like guns or war, but I have a connection to it. My family has experience the pain of it first hand.

So I wear a poppy and remember, lest we forget.

Scottish National War Memorial

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