They were kids

Tomorrow, many of us will be gathering at the various cenotaphs throughout the district to pay homage to those among us who left the security of hearth and home to commit themselves to mortal combat on distant shores.
We will be joined by the ever-thinning ranks of those who were there, who saw war in all its horror and lived to come home to their loved ones. They’re old now—most of them in their 80s and beyond—and perhaps that’s what makes it difficult to relate to their experiences all these years later.
But what is so often forgotten is when they put their lives on the line for king and country, they were kids—some as young as 17. They were bleeding and dying at a point in their lives when the most important thing they should have been worrying about was getting into university or finding a date for the prom.
But instead, they followed a higher calling, and for some, it was a one-way journey. For others, it ended with bodies and minds still alive, but damaged beyond repair.
But for all of them, it was a stolen youth, forever scarred with the memories of other kids just like them who never came home.
Tomorrow, during the moment of silence, you might want to sneak a peak at some of those veterans. Look into their eyes and you’ll see they are in another place and another time.
They are no longer old men. For a few, brief moments, they are kids again, remembering those other kids who will never grow old as they have done.
Then look at your own kids and be grateful they are growing up in a different world that will likely never steal their youth from them.
Look at them and remember all those kids who made it possible. Never forget and never let your kids forget.