Today is a special day. Veterans day. And my grateful thanks go out to all, both past and present that preserve and protect our freedoms. The â€œwar to end all warsâ€ the First World War officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919. But fighting had ceased seven months earlier when the armistice was signed between the Allied nations and Germany. It went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. As we are sadly aware this war was by no means the last, and about 20 years later there was world war 2 or as I usually call it.. â€œWW twiceâ€ Naturally we should all honour the brave men and women that have served and are still serving. But I thought that you might be interested in that war from another perspective. So here are my memories. They are disjointed, and I am not sure in what order the first ones were. *I am sitting on my mothers lap on the stairs of my grandmotherâ€™s house. Back then my parents lived with her. We are almost at the bottom of the stairs, and she is squeezing me tight while she huddles against the wall. All I can hear is the wailing of sirens and the sound of the ack -ack guns, and some explosions. Suddenly there is light bursting in on us. A large piece of the neighbourâ€™s house comes through the ceiling onto the landing above and bounces down the stairs and right past us, hitting the wall at the bottom where the staircase turned. The house directly across from her had a direct hit. I remember seeing that house and a few others close by after they were rebuilt after the war. For many years the lighter coloured bricks were a constant reminder of all that had passed. *I am standing next to the hall cupboard and my mother and my Nan are getting out this terrible looking mask and seeing if it will fit on my face. It is a gas mask. Everyone had been issued one. It frightens me. *I am laying in a cot in what became my Nan's bedroom after the war. Back then you could not just go out and find a youth bed for a child, in fact even having a cot was amazing. I remember seeing newborns in our home sleeping in dresser drawers. So a child would still sleep in a cot even if they had to bend their legs to do so. I have turned sideways in it, and have my whole body to the top of my thighs hanging out through the bars. It is night. The curtains are not pulled and the moonlight is streaming in the windows, casting the shapes of the window frames across the room and across me. I am mesmerized by it. Suddenly the sirens start their wailing, and the searchlights start to criss-cross the sky. My mother runs in and without putting on a light (blackout rules) she tries to pull me from the bed, but in her panic she does not realize that my legs are through the bars. So she is pounding my legs against the bars and then letting me fall back, until she realizes and helps me to disentangle my legs and she pulls me up into her arms and runs down the stairs, out through the kitchen door and around the back of the house to the â€œbomb shelterâ€. By now bombs are dropping a little way from us. She runs to the shelter and starts down the steps and suddenly tosses me onto the left hand cot. A word about shelters. We all had one built in our back gardens. Most were like my Nanâ€™s. About 7 foot long and perhaps 5 foot wide. And it is sunk into the ground about 4 foot. This 4-foot bit becomes ponds for some owners after the war. It is poured cement. And the top is level with the ground. Over that is a corrugated piece of tin, just Like the Quonset hut shape. The open entry to this is at one of the narrow ends. In it is two cots. If you have seen the old movie of the stretchers with the two poles and kaki material stretched across them. Think about this same thing with crossed legs to keep it off the floor. Later I learn that my mother was ill and that is why she was home alone that night, while everyone else was at work up at the Bristol Aeroplane Company in Filton. When she got to the top step she knew she was going to faint and so tossed me away from her. when the Germans started tactical bombing, Filton was the first target. The Aeroplane factory there was immense for that time. in my family (on my mothers side) those who were not serving in the armed forces worked there. The bomb shelters always amused me. Something 4 foot into the ground and covered with tin, and about 10 foot from the house. If the house had been hit you would have been buried. *I am on someoneâ€™s shoulders; â€œeveryoneâ€ had gone down to the village pub for the evening. They are now on their way home along â€œChalk laneâ€ it is pitch black because of the blackout, everyone is singing â€œLilly Marleneâ€ Suddenly the sounds of the sirens.. searchlights going and planes are flying over our heads. We are still as statues, as you hear them pass, and we watch as the bombs find targets a few miles in front of us. It is actually a German song that was adopted by everyone. I remember most of the words to this day. â€œUnderneath the lantern by the barrack gateâ€ Funnily enough the ruling Germans hated it, and so did the allies, but the regular soldier loved it, and in spite of both sides trying to ban it. It was an immense favorite, and sung everywhere. I was shocked to eventually find out that this was not a British song. *We are walking back from the shops. Suddenly there is the sound of an engine above you, a droning noise. We all stand still and pray for the noise to continue. We are fortunate.. It continues on, and the grownups say a prayer for those along its way. It is a V-one bomb; better known as â€œbuzz bombsâ€ they were launched from a ramp and were pilot less. Once the engine stopped the bomb was coming to earth. We were fortunate in that we did not get many of these. *I am playing in the street with my friends.. In the sky is Balloon barrages tethered to the ground. This is normal. After the way the sky looked empty to us for some time. *Nanâ€™s house was on the last street of that housing area. Behind her house was fields rolling away as far as I can see. I used to craw through the makeshift fence and walk across the large high fenced area that had a few long huts in it. I would sit next to the fence and make daisy chains. I felt sorry for the men in there, some of them would sit next to the fence and cry and try to touch my hand. I would hand them a daisy chain. They would talk to me but I did not understand them. Later I understood that they were German Prisoners of War. They were our enemy, but they were also fathers and brothers. And they did not know it they would ever see their family again. ******* And I hope that on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day 11am. you will join me as I bow my head and take a minute to remember all that have fallen... as we all used to do before the cenotaphs in our towns and villages.