I barely remember my mother’s twin. Actually my only real memory of him is not about him at all. I remember Mommy reading a letter that came in the mail informing her that her brother, Private David Beatty Conacher of the Regina Rifles had been killed in action in Normandy at Falaise, south of Caen.
She was terribly quiet, and then she went and lay on her bed. It seemed she was there for ever. Daddy tried to comfort her, but there was no balm for her grief, so he took care of me. The next day, she was very silent, but her quiet tears were punctuated wracking sobs. My small voiced pleas, “Mommy, what’s the matter Mommy?” and hopes, “Mommy, I love you” were answered only with more tears and fierce hugs.
She mourns him still.
He was a simple farm boy from Saskatchewan whose hope was to farm with his Daddy. He hadn’t had much of life yet; he loved to play hockey; he would have liked to have a girl friend; and I almost remember that he liked me.
His call came, and he went with all of the others. He trained in Canada and again in England. Several days after the invasion, he was ferried to France as a replacement soldier. As he climbed down from the truck, he was killed by a sniper’s bullet.
I am glad for him that he never had to kill anyone; that would have hurt worse than the bullet that took his life.
“Not in vain?” I am not so sure. If there ever was a good war, it was the one to stop Hitler. But how did the world get to that point? Surely there is a better way to live than to kill the innocent in the pursuit of wealth and power.
Every year, we sing and pray, “lest we forget.” I weep for all of the Daveys whose lives were stopped, and more for the ones to whom they “throw the torch.”
I hope for us all that the torch is the Light of the World.