John-Ward Leighton

REMEMBERED LAUGHTER

The streets were somewhat empty this morning
and the sun was up but skidding along the Southern horizon.
I was out for my walk
thinking, thinking, thinking.
The sidewalks were slippery
and the salt slush laid dirty on the walk
and in the gutters.
I read the Hazzard letters
“Dear Sweetheart”
in the Globe and Mail this morning
and we had the report of David’s death
at Carpiquet Airfield just outside Caen
on the 5th July 1944.
Lt. David Hazzard
was a platoon commander
in my regiment
the Queen’s Own Rifles.
This last series of letters
got us up to the present day
and the post war years of sorrow
and coping for David’s
wife, girls, his Mom and brother,
who was also serving and overseas,
and David’s friends in the regiment.
We sometimes forget
that tragedies like this
have many more victims
than just those that were killed.
I seem to be getting a much better
understanding of the futility
of war and the wreckage
it imposes both materially and emotionally.
I was a peacetime soldier
and aside from the UN gigs
really didn’t suffer much.
I had a lot of comrades
who served in Korea and WW2
but they never talked much about
their experiences in conflict
and we respected them too much to ask.
We knew there was no happy ever after
and the thing that kept them going was
the love for their comrades and
the remembered laughter.

Photo ©Copyright 2010 by John-Ward Leighton
2nd Battalion, Queen’s Own Rangers of Canada Battle Honours