After 93 years I look back on my life

Patriot Realm
By Raymond F Peters 

I have felt a surge of nostalgia of late. It could be my 93 years playing on my mind. I have to get help to type my words and I have to use a mobility scooter to get around these days.

I see myself in the mirror, after a welcome glaucoma removal, and I see an old man. But I am not an old man. Not inside. I am young, fit and healthy. I am still the young Naval man who wooed my wife and laid down my life for everything I still hold dear. Fortunately, I was not asked by He who knows All to give that sacrifice. I went on to enjoy life for decades when many others did not.

I served with the British Forces during the Second World War and, because of a war that no one wanted, I found a new life down under. How extraordinary is that? Without the war, I would not have met my wife or had the life that I have enjoyed and cherished all these years.

People talk about war as an evil thing and it is. But out of evil, there often comes some good.

How many couples met and married, made families and created memories because of this terrible and stupid event?

I hate war and I am against conflict of any kind. Unless it is conflict where right meets wrong and the two sides fight that battle out, in which case, I will be there, even today, to make sure that good triumphs over evil and kindness and goodness prevail. That is a fight worth fighting.

I read about President Trump and think back on the night I heard that Sir Winston Churchill had died. I remember the shock when I heard that Kennedy had been murdered. I also remember when my two sons and daughter were born. I remember the emotions when I went to Hiroshima when the war ended. I still have the photos I took where the radioactivity made the photographs look strange and almost ghostly.

I look at the mementoes that I brought back with me. I smile and look at photographs of my Great Grandchildren and I remember when I was a young lad and felt that the world was my oyster. My oyster was owning a pair of shoes and being warm and well fed. As a boy of the Depression, I remember all too well the bare feet, the empty stomach and the lack of a good “ jumper “ on my back.

In later years, I have enjoyed the many shoes I now have, even if I can’t bend down to put them on. I have enjoyed the food in my belly, even if it gives me indigestion after I have eaten it. I have enjoyed the feeling of a woollen jumper in the colder weather, a heated home and a place that reassures me that my war was worth fighting.

I LIKE the fact that people can moan and groan about climate change and equal opportunities today. I really do. Because, without my fight, and my mates who stood and fell beside me, their voices would have been silenced forever.

Yes, I am happy to be 93  on the 5th of June and I have a bright red scooter to ride around my neighbourhood to see people, young people, old people, children, babies, all going about their life because I and people like me made a decision to say “ No. “

If we had not lined up and volunteered to stand against wrong and to stand for right, I would not be writing this ( with more dexterous fingers than mine) and be able to say

“ It was worth it. “

Please don’t squander what we did. All of us, from around the world, in countless wars from WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf,  The Falklands, Middle East and Afghanistan.

We are counting on you.

Because you counted on us.