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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Looking back

I was digging through a storage bin we'd brought home from inter-provincial storage the other day, looking for an old manuscript I'll be blowing the dust off of and finishing.  In the process, I found a couple of old journals I'd kept, ages ago.  I spent yesterday evening reading through them.

Wow.  Pretty intense stuff in there!

There wasn't actually a lot in them.  They were both written in those plain blank books you find in office supply shops, and neither of them was finished.  One referred to the book I'd just finished, and I now wonder, what happened to it?  There is a huge gap of time between the two of them I found (another one was a book of old poems and songs I'd written.  I gave that one to me kids to read. :-D ).  In one, my husband was about to go to the Persian Gulf, in the other, I'm writing about the final months of my pregancy with Eldest.

It's interesting to look back over the things that happened back then.  Most of it will never see the light of day, but here's an excerpt from an entry dated Jan. 16, 1991.  We were living in Victoria, BC, at the time.  Dh was posted to the HMCS Kootenay.  Saddam had invaded Kuwait and was busily destroying it, and Canada was preparing it's response, along with many other countries.  Kootenay was originally slated to go, and another ship was already gone.  I wrote (names left out for privacy):

Well, I'm back.  Worked 'til 7:00pm last night.  While at work I heard over the radio about a support group that was going to the candelight vigil, so I went.  They're called the "Servicemen Support Alliance" (SSA).  They'd made up a bunch of signs and even brought extra candles.

The peacemongers, as I've started to think of them, were gathering at the memorial statue at the legislature grounds.  We gathered across from them by the carillon.  The organizers - P.  & A. - were terrified (I spoke to A. later).  They told us not to talk to the other group and not to answer media questions today.  Our goal was just to have a peaceful demonstration in support of our people out there. 


I've heard some interesting news.  Some of the women - 3 at the demo last night - have been getting phone calls.  One story is that some one posing as a Lieutenant Colonel says "Your husband is dead."  One woman got a all from someone saying "your husband is a killer."

The peacemongers started at UVic about noon, made their way downtown with a couple of stops, were at the legislature buildings for the candlelight vigil, then ended up at DND.  I heard that while downtown, one woman who wasn't for or against, had her car attacked because she wouldn't honk for peace!

After we got together by the carillon, we crossed the street and made our way to the statue of Queen Victoria.  We had to go right past them.  They seem to think we're the enemy!  There were some shouts, but I couldn't hear what they were saying.  Once there, we sang O Canada.  Then at five to 9, we sang again, then said the Our Father.  Then we left.

 One of the things I remember that I hadn't written here was conversations with some of the other wives.  A few had come home to messages from the "peacemongers" with vile and threatening comments.  The recordings were given to the police, but I don't think anything came of that.  The military had to let all the spouses know what the proceedures were for notification if something had happened, so that they wouldn't be frightened by the calls claiming our loved ones were dead (the military doesn't pass on that sort of thing over the phone!).

The next day, I wrote this:

Just got off the phone with D. - her husband is a SLt. with [Dh] on the Kootenay.  She was worried.  She and two of her neighbours - all in PMQs - got calls from a life insurance co.  I found the company in the book - Confederation Life - but they were worried maybe they were peacemongers.  D. said she's terrified to speak to anyone she doesn't know.  She's worried that if they find out she's got a navy husband, she's (sic) be attacked.  Her neighbours are worried, too.  D.  even got a call from her mom in Toronto warning her not to tell anyone her name or mention G. 's in the navy.

She spoke to G. last night.  Some peace demonstrators tried to get to the ship but, of course, couldn't. Security's too tight.  Instead, they threw trash can lids and anything else they could get their hands on.  Real peaceful people.

When I read that part out to my family, Dh piped up that he remember that night.  He was the security officer at the time. Of course, he couldn't tell me much (security reasons - the joy of being married into the military!), but I know things were pretty intense.

Reading all this, and looking at what's going on now, things haven't really changed much.  If anything, the "peacemongers" are more dangrous now than they were almost 20 years ago.

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