Remembrance Day 2020
"Lest we forget" is a traditional phrase for Remembrance Day, but also applies to those (like Nick) who fell after their own private battle. Like WWII, Nick's battle was six years in duration, was well-fought, with bravery, strength and honour. Not much chance we'll forget. The above picture depicts Alex and Vinnie in front of the plaque we had commissioned for Nick which has been placed at Byron Skate Park.
November 12th, the day after Remembrance Day, marks the two year anniversary of Tanja's dad Richard Zientara's passing. We were homeward bound from scattering Nick's ashes in Hong Kong at the time, missing a final farewell to him by mere hours. We'd stayed in HK for three weeks, which was one week too long. Such is life. No chance we'll forget him, and all he did for us, either.
Matthew's grandfather, father and uncle all served in the American military.
Grandpa was a submariner during WWII, and was aboard two separate submarines which sank two of the aircraft carriers used in the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour. Fittingly, Matthew was born 24 years after that, on December 7th, 1965 - "A day that will live on in infamy!". Of course, the Japanese armada didn't take these submarine attacks lying down - they torpedoed the hell out of the submarine fleet. I can't even imagine what it would be like to lay low in a miserable tin can deep underwater near the Philippines, while hundreds of depth charges go off all around you. Balls of steel were required, and Matthew's grandfather certainly had 'em.
Matt's uncle Gordon served in US army intelligence in Vietnam and Japan. He was exposed to the dread carcinogenic defoliant Agent Orange in Vietnam, and subsequently developed lung cancer, but miraculously beat it, and is still kicking 12 years later. A bright-as-hell guy, he retired from the Army, learned gemmology and worked for years at a jeweler's shop in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA. When this business was mothballed following a landslide which cut off Carmel's only access road, he retrained as a computer systems operator and worked for the Naval Postgraduate school in Monterey until his retirement, at which point he moved to Matthew's birthplace, Eugene, OR.
Matt's dad did a four-year tour of duty in the US navy during the Korean war, serving as a photographer. He had a few legendary hangovers, slept off in the ship's darkroom - but I don't think he earned a Purple Heart for those. Still, the GI bill paid for my dad's post-secondary education, and he was the first of his family to have that opportunity, earning his PhD in '71 and serving as professor at Laurentian U. for 30 years.
We have a couple of things we want to tell you about. First, even though we were unable to hold our Great Balls of Fire event, we were able to raise $3700, so thank you so much. Second, we still have some silent auction items left from our Great Balls of Fire event. If you donate $50.00 or more, you can choose ONE of the following items:
1. Items generously donated by Oxford Learning Centre which includes one diagnostic assessment that is valued at $250.00.
2. A beautiful new purse generously donated by my friend, Sal Khan.
3. A Goodlife month-long member ship, bag, t-shirt and water bottle.
4. A gift certificate for a tour and tasting for four people at London Brewing.
5. Two gift certificates for a pedicure spa donated by Lucky's Nails and Spa. If you donate, you can have both.
6. A $50.00 pass for Exodus Escape Rooms.
7. A popcorn maker and two passes to a movie at Cineplex Odeon Theatre.
8. A certificate from Canadian Tire valued at $54.99 for a Change of Season Service.
Our actual donation site has closed, but you can still e-transfer or write a cheque or what-have-you. If interested you can contact me at 226-378-4461 or email me at email@example.com or you can contact Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your ongoing support is very much appreciated.
I have also started a Christmas Hamper project with the UNITED SIKHS. We are supporting the Children's Health Foundation as well as the Salvation Army Centre of Hope. We are looking for non-perishable food donations, new winter items (they must be new due to covid restrictions) including winter coats, hats, gloves, boots, shoes, any clothing, blankets, hand warmers etc. We also need toiletries including shampoo, soap, razors, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products etc. We are also looking for new toys and items for teenagers for all those poor young folks who are forced to sit in the hospital over Christmas.