She called him Frankie-doodle. He called her his gem and dearest Chris.
With four little girls in tow, this young couple very much in love, new transfers to Canada, left a legacy of letters and postcards that tell the ultimate story of Remembrance Day.
And so I pause to remember them. Frank and Christina.
Private Frank McAlpine’s last letter to his family contains echoes of duty and pride. Still floating from a recent visit from his family before his company moved out across the ocean to Liverpool, and from there to the front lines, in every line you read you see how much he’s personally sacrificing. How much they’re all sacrificing.
How he’ll be home from the Great War soon….
But it was not to be. At least, not his physical home.
And in the winter of 1916, Christina found herself alone, with a doctor’s note, and condolences from Canada’s Prime Minister Borden. In the line of duty, sustaining an injury, Frankie had been on the mend until pneumonia claimed him in the Liverpool Royal Infirmary.
One of many. From then up to now. Still so many giving their lives. Making monumental sacrifices, often before they even see battle. And often after, once home, forgotten and asking what now?
And so we remember them.
Christina, a strong Scottish lass, puts on a brave front for her girls, for her community. And they lived a good life. But among the letters we have, is her heart-wrenching poem to her now gone husband, tender and bruised.
I think about what families sacrifice for their country. The true North strong and free because of all of them.
My great grandparents, Frankie and Chris.
Today I remember there is a grand legacy of freedom in my family tree.
And I can’t take that for granted. Freedom is a gift unlike any other.
And I think of another man who laid down His life for me, as an example of freedom graced upon us freely. A man who hung on an entirely different kind of family tree, if you will. A freedom just as important gifted to us. God’s ultimate legacy.
And due to all this freedom, I lift a prayer and a salute. To all the men and women who gave their lives, or serving right now, Lord, bless them for their duty and sacrifice, for being vigilant about our freedom. For protecting our country at great cost.
We cease all unimportant chatter and noise today. So that we remember that there are far more important things held in the balance. So that we respect the great sacrifices made.
So that we’ll remember that freedom, Father, will always come with a price. How well you know.