This morning I listened to a chat on the radio about the roles Canadian women played in the last world war. It mentioned a woman artist sent, after the war, to record the scenes that showed it effects in Europe. Her name was Molly Lamb Boback. They did not mention Pegi Nicol MacLeod, whose work I show below, so I’ll mention her now; they are among the women who did everything they were allowed to for the war effort and sometimes a little bit more.
Today I remember war for the many lives it touches and changes, the tragedy and heroics it evokes, the life-changing wounds that remain, the healing, such as it is, that is achieved, the strength that some are able to find. And I look at it through other artists’ eyes.
The Second World War touched many lives in many different ways. One of the ways it touched my life was through my father. So this month is one of those times when thoughts of him lie close to the surface of my mind.
He was a young man when he entered the British army – we had a picture of him, smiling, in his uniform. Beyond that we know very little. His war was something he did not talk about. All we have had are little bits of information that fell out, rarely, in conversation.
But that did not mean that we could not see some of its effect on him. He was a man who was suspicious of grand words and emotional speeches, and of leaders who demanded an unquestioning loyalty. He taught, shared the tools for and encouraged people to think critically, to question and to wonder, to…
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