That's Life November 10, 2010

Remembrance Day is upon us once again. Please take time to honour those who died for our freedom and also honour those who have served our country and returned to build our cities, towns, villages, farmlands and factories.
War changes history with the tragic loss of each and every life.
War changes history through the mental anguish suffered by those witnessing and experiencing the atrocities of the battlefield and those suffering the loss of loved ones.
War changes everything.
I had the opportunity to meet with the Kneehill Ministerial Association just yesterday. It was mentioned that "remembering" on Remembrance Day is not possible for many of us. After all, the First World War ended in 1919. The Second World War ended in 1945. Many of us were not born yet.
My grandfather, Robert Hildrew, served in the First World War. He died 46 years ago. My dad, Ron, served in the Second World War. He died 23 years ago. I keep, with pride, medals earned by my grandfather and dad. Most reflect areas served. Places like  Holland, Italy and Great Britain. They were so young.
One of my prized possessions is an armoured tank lapel pin. It belonged to my grandfather who served in the British Tank Command. He ended up there because "The quietest, most considerate gentleman who I've ever known, was short with a British officer when questioned about his tardiness while assigned as a Military Chauffeur. I'll have you know that my grandfather chauffeured Canadian Flying Ace Billy Bishop. You don't know who Billy Bishop is? Get to a computer and Google him.
My dad packed and left Drumheller when he was 20 years old. He was training to be a mechanic when he answered the call of the war effort. I have a training photo from Camp Borden in Ontario taken in 1939. It's another prized possession. I used to get a bang out of finding dad amongst all those men. I'm talking about hundreds of men. God bless the photographer in charge of organizing those mugs.
There's a fellow two rows above dad and one to the right. His name is George Melnechuk. Dad would become lifelong friends with George but they wouldn't meet until they were both stationed in Italy. George was a mechanic, a great mechanic, as many will remember. He was from Swalwell, dad was from Drumheller as I mentioned before.
My dad was in Armoured Vehicle Recovery. This story is starting to take shape.
One day my dad was in an Italian Village barbershop getting cleaned up. One of the guys in dad's outfit ran through the door and said, "Ron, there's something wrong with the Sarge." Dad was the Corporal of the outfit so he cut his haircut and shave short and followed the Private to a nearby ditch. There was the Sarge, flat out and sick as a dog.
Dad got it out of him that he drank a little too much of a local brew. He was able to point them in the right direction before he passed out.
Dad and the Private approached a fair-sized truck with a tarped rear end. They pulled back the tarp and there sat George Melnechuk making a big batch of his potato peel hooch. That's how they met. I kid you not.
I became great friends with the Melnechuk boys. Ed passed away a few years back but Rob is alive and well and I hope he reads this. I hope he gets a kick out of it.
George passed away in 1987. My dad said it was the first time the death of someone made him "cry like a baby". Dad died in the fall of 1987. It was my turn to cry. But I do remember them. I will never forget what they did so that guys like Rob and myself and our families can live in freedom and prosperity. God Bless them all.
That's Life.