Canadian flag.

The Meaning Of 11

The number 11 took on a new meaning after 9/11, but it signified freedom long before that.

I had no idea what it meant. To me it was just another holiday. A day when stores were closed and more importantly, there was no school. I knew about the war, but I was free to play. I knew people died for our freedom, but I could sleep in. I knew my parents had little when they were growing up because of the war, but I had food on my plate and a day to watch TV. The real meaning of the day was distant to me.

Years later, my daughter joined the Brownies. The first year she was a member, I set the alarm to wake us on the morning of 11/11. She had to participate in a parade. Every Brownie, Girl Guide, Cub Scout, and Scout had to participate in the parade. It was a day to remember those who died for our freedom.

My wife and I left our daughter with the Guide leader and proceeded to the Canadian Legion, where we waited for her. The kids paraded a mile along the coastal roads of Nova Scotia, carrying their flags high and proud. We waited for their arrival. Veterans joined them - old men, long past their prime. They'd fought in the trenches and watched their comrades die. Many came in wheelchairs. Some limped. A few still stood strong and walked proudly to the legion. A band played, speeches were made, and on the 11th month, the 11th day, the 11th hour, the 11th minute, and the 11th second there began two minutes of silence.

I looked at the veterans. Their sacrifices allowed us to stand there that day. They gave us our freedom.

The cold November chill seeped through my jacket. I reached out and held my wife. A tear trickled down my cheek. For years, I slept as those brave men marched in the cold air in remembrance for those who died in battle beside them. It took my daughter to make me realize the importance of the day.

I never missed another Remembrance Day.

Years later, because of work, I was separated from my family. I was in another city. On Remembrance Day, I heard there was going to be a service in the city square. I was in Saint John, New Brunswick. I put on my jacket and tie, pinned a poppy to my lapel, walked the mile to the service, stood in the damp cold and watched those brave men once again march for our freedom.

I don't know if it was because I was away from my family or the sight of those old men still walking proudly, but the memory of that service never fades.

The Veterans marched, wheeled, and limped to the city square. The mayor gave a speech. The two minutes of silence began. At the end, a bagpipe began to play "Amazing Grace."

After the first chorus, a second bagpipe joined in, along with a small band. On the third chorus, more bagpipes joined and a brass band began to play. The building of sound, the magic of the moment is something I will never forget. The tears filled my eyes that day, as the blood must have filled the trenches in battle.

That moment burned in my mind forever.

On November 11th, please take a moment to remember those who fought for our freedom and those that continue to fight for it.

May God bless them all.

~ Michael T. Smith ~

Michael lives in Ohio with his wife Ginny and his stepdaughter's family. You can see a list of Mike's stories here: And you can get his stories emailed to you by signing up here:  Please let Michael know what you think of his story:  Michael T. Smith
[ by: Michael T. Smith Copyright © 2010, ( ) -- {used with permission} ]

Email Friend.     Back.     Print Page.

Inspirational Stories     SkyWriting.Net     All Rights Reserved.