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Mother's Day as Remembrance

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Jason Pankratz - Tillsonburg Legion

Make sure to get your tickets for the ever-popular, back by demand, Johnny Cash Tribute show at the Tillsonburg Legion.

The show begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 26 for $20. Call the office for details and ticket price. Get your tickets now, they are going fast. It is a great show and worth the ticket!

Take a peek at the Legion Facebook page for upcoming events. Like the page and become part of its online community.

On Sunday, May 13, Tillsonburg Legion Branch 153 will be hosting its annual Mother’s Day Brunch, from 9-1 p.m. (or as supplies last) for $10 at the door. This brunch always brings a great turnout.

As I prepared to write this article, I got thinking about Mother’s Day and the role of mothers during wartime. Interestingly, Mother’s Day became an American holiday in 1914, the first year of WWI. How tragic it would have been to celebrate a new-found holiday with sons at war. Or, thinking of your mother while living in a trench and the conditions of war.

I told a story a while ago about WWI letters that we have from my mom’s side of the family. In one letter our relative states how his mother’s heart was broken when he left for the front. In another, after being back home seeing his parents, while healing from surgery, he states how old his mother looked since he had been away at war. It has become cliched, the image of a grieving mother for their sons and daughters who are part of war. But the cliché can’t be denied or trivialized. With historical eyes, I often think how cruel it was/is to glorify a mother’s suffering with the loss of a child for the war effort, for country and cause. This can be said for all conflicts.

I often write and tell stories about how Robin Barker-James influenced my passion for history. I was part of his very first war scenario at his and Susan’s farm. In that first experience, he secretly sent letters to students’ parents asking them to make a care package from home. I remember when they were distributed. It was a total surprise. And again, Robin had created a way to increase a student's understanding of what it would have been like to be on the front.

In my care package there was gum, socks, some hard Christmas cake and a letter. The letter was written by my mom, Brenda. In a historical tense she wrote how she missed me and how she prayed for me to stay safe and warm. I wish I had have kept that letter. It became a surreal connection to historical interpretation.

My mom has been a driving force in my life. Though we have our challenges, like many men and their mothers, she has been supportive and pushed me to be a better man. Thank goodness we do not live in a time of war where sons are called to service - I do not think my mother could handle it. And that is not a slight or joke. We just live in another time. Not that that makes the experience any different to deal with.

Women have been an essential part of war conflict. They are the mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and other relations to those who sacrificed and suffered. There are also many examples of women serving as well; as nurses, pilots, administration and soldiers too. Let us not forget their experiences. On this Mother’s Day let us remember women from our present and past. Let us consider their role as family, individuals and as an essential, and often remiss, part of history.

Thank you, mom, for who you are. 

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