Reg Volk

Reg Volk writes about local issues in a monthly column.

It would be easy to write of politics for this column, as the campaigning dust settles. To the surprise of almost no one, we have a minority government which will have to juggle votes with the other three parties to succeed.

It is really a crude form of representative government but not at all truly proportional. We get what we voted for.

Politics is really a war of words which, while listening to can seem as ugly as scenes from a war. Many times it can be hurtful and words can scar as badly as physical wounds.

A teacher was trying to teach a class about bullying and gave each a sheet of paper.”

Crumple it up,” she said, “Then throw it on the floor and stomp on it!”

“Now pick it up and try to smooth it out.” To her students surprised looks she said, “The scars left on the paper are the words you used in bullying someone. They last!”

Politicians should learn November is the month to remember the physical and mental scars that our brave veterans endured for the rest of their lifetime. Many refused to talk about their experiences at all.

My great grandfather, Const. Peter John Reggin, served with the North West Mounted Police from 1882-88. They mainly controlled illicit liquor sales to natives, kept native peace and helped during the North West Rebellion of Louis Riel.

Peter had a brother, sometimes known as Patrick, who was at the Battle of Fish Creek during this rebellion with the 10th Royal Grenadiers from Toronto. He also was involved in the, often unheard of, Spanish American War of 1888-1899.

Peter John Reggin was married twice, so there are two families to follow here. He had four boys from his first family, of which three went to live in the United States. Only his one son, Pte. Lenard Douglas Reggin, (age 24) saw service during the First World War and was wounded in action.

He entered the war in 1916 and was present at the Battle of Vimy Ridge in April, 1917 where he received shrapnel wounds.

A total of 10,602 Canadians were wounded in this battle and 3,598 Canadians died. There were also approximately 20, 000 German casualties.

He was treated in France.

A few months later, after recovering, he went right in to the Battle of Passchendaele, in October 1917. Three quarters of his regiment was killed or wounded and he received shrapnel wounds, once again.

He spent the rest of the war in England, recovering and learning other war skills. As the war ended on Nov. 11, 1918 he sailed for home.

He seemed to find spiritual consolation in religion as he then spent 40 years helping to build and educate in a Calgary Baptist church. Tragically, he died in a car accident in 1959. His son, Pte. Osborne Reggin also served in the Second World War.

The Second World War saw service from the second family of Const. Peter Reggin. Two of his sons were shipped off to Vancouver from the Fernie area of the East Kootenays for military training in 1941.

Pte. James Francis Reggin did not go overseas, as he had to return home to assist his ailing mother. His brother Charles Lawrence Reggin was shipped out to the highlands of Scotland for the war. Yes, Scotland!

There he spent the rest of the war years falling trees and cutting timbers for war trenches, as he was an experienced woodsman. These are the two uncles we knew, but they said very little about war service.

My wife also had two uncles who served overseas in 1940-45. They were Privates Helmut and Arnold Fried. Both survived. Interesting, though, that their German background father had to register and check in weekly to prove his whereabouts.

He was busy farming!

On my Volk side, only one son had to trek off to WWII, Pte. Scotty Volk, and he came back safely. The rest were producing food.

Remembrance Day can be a very melancholy time as we think of relatives who have gone before. Indeed, my relatives were involved in battles from 1882-1945 — over 60 years.

I was born shortly after the Second World War ended and spent all my years only reading or thinking about these wars. I enjoyed Winston Churchill series, “The World At War.” Now, I try to avoid the thought of major international skirmishes which are in your face with each news cast. My children and grandchildren do ask about these relatives, occasionally

On Monday, two of my grandsons will march in the City Park parade with the Kelowna Air Cadets squadron. They have worked hard to achieve.

They see this as great training for a possible pilot licence and enjoy flying or even gliding. I can only hope and pray that nothing drastic happens to them.

Perhaps we all feel a little beat up after last month’s election, but it is nothing compared to what previous generations have endured.

Perhaps politicians need to think about the harm words can cause and where it all may, ultimately, lead to.

Please do not forget Remembrance Day ceremonies. And proudly wear a poppy.

Reg Volk is a retired elementary school teacher who reides in Kelowna. This column appears monthly.