I have in my possession many objects of appreciation; however, today, one object with two parts are of special significance. What I am speaking about are two medals that I have framed and they hang proudly on a wall. My realization is that symbolically, the medals have come to a milestone today…they mark the start of World War 1, 100 years ago! The medals belonged to my grandfather, Phuman Singh and they were for his service in World War I and fighting for the British Empire! Today is November 11th and a way to remember him. One is the victory medal and the other is a service medal for when the war ended in 1918.
What made him give up all the familiarity as a youth to go on an adventure? Why did he decide to leave India and go to the Middle East and fight on behalf of the British? We don’t know much about his service, but through some investigation, I found that he served in Mesopotamia (now modern day Iraq). He was part of the India Mule Train. A unit that would take supplies by mules to the front line and then bring the injured and dead back to the base and constantly through harms way. During the war, he was just one face of many; however, an important face to us.
Fortunately, my grandfather survived World War I and went on to bring his life to Fiji where he prospered. Sadly, I never got a chance to meet him as he passed away many years before I was born. I really don’t know too much about him but what I do know is special. I did the research and preserved his history in a frame.
The Great War was the war to end all wars…or so we thought. After World War II, we thought that it was finally the end of tyranny and conflict. No, that was followed by other campaigns like the Korean War, the Vietnam War and it goes on and on. Even today, we see conflict around the world. I guess we never really learn.
November 11th is an important time to remember. To remember those who sacrificed and gave their lives so that we may live in Freedom. Those who continue to protect us. Lives were forever changed. Fortunately, I have not had to endure what so many had to do. I can’t even imagine what it was like for so many, including my grandfather. Youth and Innocence were lost as people sacrificed.
My grandfather served in World War I. I was just reflecting today that the medals I hold on to are almost 100 years old. Almost a century ago, he was recognized for his service. What stories he could have told and shared about his adventures. Today I remember the word sacrifice.
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