My dear son,
At 0600 hrs on this Remembrance Day, we began our daily run. At this early hour, the path along the sandstone cliffs, above the North Sea was in darkness. We reluctantly followed a "safer" route through the town, softly illuminated by amber street lights. "Safety" is such a relative term, isn't it.
The skies were thick with cloud cover. It was raining, and stormy winds were blowing. We did not, however, complain. In the chill and darkness of this November morning, your mother and I remembered that long, almost interminable time you were away…as if it was just yesterday. It will always seem like yesterday. We remembered the sleeplessness, the feeling of helplessness, the constant fear of a knock at the door that would bring heart-wrenching news. We felt very alone for there were so very few who could possibly understand.
During that time, on the other side of the world, you experienced horrors precious few of us can even begin to imagine, let alone bear the burden of such memories…for the rest of our lives. You never once complained. Your strength and your courage will inspire us forever.
How easily we forget, or at the very least, take for granted, the freedom we enjoy from such danger, from such human suffering. How easily we are tempted to bemoan matters of very little significance in life. Forgive us when we do that, for we know not what we do...but we should.
For you and for those whose lives were lost or changed forever, on all "sides", we will continue to work for peace in this world, for all people, in every way that we can.
As for so many, this day is very personal.
You know we will remember, son, always...
With love and deep respect,