Updated: Oct 12
The 2021/2022 Scotia Music School year has started, so I have found a little breathing room to discuss “Piper’s Peace - song #8 on my album, "Fearless Contribution".
In fall of 2019, I bagpiped for countless funerals and Remembrance Day services.
Three services, in particular, really fed to this song.
First service: The school’s previous bagpiper retired from bagpiping and was now watching as a veteran; ensuring I can qualify to take his place.
During the ceremony, I received a painted poppy from one of the students. I looked at the retired veteran with trepidation. Do I accept this poppy? He felt my question, smiled, and nodded. This painting now resides on my bedroom wall.
Second Service: Usually, prior to practicing, I introduce myself to our honourable veterans and have the pleasure of enjoying their company. This time, I was led into the music room ( a separate room from our honoured Veterans).
Everyone was already seated in the Gymnasium once it was time to commence, so I piped a March to greet. Played "Flowers of the Forest" (our traditional lament), and then lead said Veterans out with a 6/8 march.
As always, I ask how it went. The Captain mentioned it should be a slower march and then looked behind me. A veteran was holding on to fellow mates as they assisted her while walking out of the gymnasium.
My heart fell to the ground…
I left a soldier behind...
While getting to know these particular soldiers, I found out that they were all my age, they are parents of children attending this school, and the soldier who struggled with walking was injured in battle; awaiting surgery.
Third Service: Thankfully, a second service for the older children followed. I could make it right.
A very slow march was piped during processional and recessional to ensure no one was left behind. Also, “Flowers of the Forest” was played with as much emotion as I could gather. It was my way to ask for forgiveness. At the end, I looked over and our veterans were in tears.
I was numb post Remembrance Day aside
for intense anger and pain at all of us for not respecting our soldiers. I was ashamed that we could go on with our every day lives. This depression ran deep; so deep that I had forgotten the most important procedure explained by my late grandfather. As follows:
We are to remember, lay our poppy, and then forget so our honoured can attempt to forget, too.
My mother noticed the anguish and brought me back to a place where I could morn by saying the following:
"Our Soldiers wouldn't want us to think this way. This is not why they serve our Country."
Then, healing began while attending a Vital Church conference a few days later. I was completely ready to engage, but my heart had other plans. It headed me back to my hotel room, and it grieved while I wrote. While words ran free, I closed my eyes and went back to our local Remembrance Day service. I pictured what I always do while piping to the sky: hoping my late grandfather as well as all of our fallen soldiers can hear and see our respect. Pictured how I could just fall to my knees and thank them for our lives, but won’t because of how much more important it is to stand and play in their honour. Even now, tears creep from my eyes as I write these words.
“I can not forget; I will not forgot. This is the Piper’s Peace”
In no time at all, we landed in the recording studio, and it was time to record #8. I couldn't keep it together and cried while singing. The band coached me through the tears, and now we have a song dedicated to our beloved Veterans loaded with kindred emotion.
Have a listen and when you do, listen with gratitude.