No matter where I am in the world I always stop and reflect on November 11th, Remembrance Day. As a Canadian I learned about the war in Europe, where most of the Canadian troops served. I had no idea how much action happened in the South Pacific.
While sailing in Solomon Islands we encountered many reminders and relics of the battles that were fought there during WWII. Being able to crawl into an underground hospital cave and touch the wreckage of a plane downed over half a century ago made war a tangible event, not just a story in a book.
I wanted to share my article, Memories of Munda, that was recently published in Cruising World Magazine about a small, privately run WWII museum that we visited on the island of Munda.
Here’s an excerpt.
“I surveyed my surroundings as I waited for my eyes to fully adjust to the to the dim light. The late morning air felt like a sweater, heavy and uncomfortable, on my already damp skin. Or maybe it was just the air in the large shed that felt weighted and significant. There was no one around when we arrived, so Steve had wandered up to the house to announce our arrival and I had taken shelter from the harsh sun inside the building.
The shed itself was little more than a two-by-four structure clad in ply with a low gabled roofed and a simple, hand-painted sign. The only light was the sun that was streaming in the large door and the propped open, hatch-style windows. I was standing in front of three long rows of tables, each full to overflowing with oddities and objects, all thoughtfully and meticulously arranged. What didn’t fit on the tables hung on the walls and leaned in the corners. What didn’t fit inside the shed sat neatly arranged on the lawn.
Outside I heard Steve introduced himself to Barney, the proprietor – the familiar slap of moist flesh as they shook hands, the predicable soft laugh from the local when Steve broke out his few phrases in the regional Solomon Island dialect. The two men entered the shed, gravel crunching under their feet. I turned to say hello and was greeted with a broad smile. Steve and I were the only two visitors to the Peter Joseph WWII Museum that morning, and Barney seemed delighted to see us.”
You can read the full article HERE.
There is a famous poem read on Remembrance Day in Canada. In Flanders Fields, written by John McCrae, a doctor working near the front lines. It is not a poem that I can recite from memory but it one of favourites, powerful and evocative in its simplicity. If you are not familiar with it I hope you take a moment to read it.
Lest we Forget & Love,