I remember when my mother gave me my grandfather’s dog tag. I was ten years old. I never met the man because he died before I was born, but my mother made sure to never let me forget that he was a soldier who fought in the Korean war. After receiving his dog tag, my grandfather, the stuff of legends to a young boy like myself, became even more legendary. Being able to run my fingers along the cool engraving of his name tied my history tighter to a war that I only ever heard stories of. That moment brought me face to face with my military family line.
I also remember the first time I heard Soldier’s Tower sing. The hauntingly beautiful aria of the 51-bell carillon froze me in my tracks. It was quarter to seven on a non-descript summer evening, and I just finished a workout at Hart House. I remember exiting through the back door and as I crossed the parking lot adjacent to Back Campus, the carillon started playing. I was confused because there were fifteen minutes left before the hour, but even so, every note that rang from Soldier’s Tower resonated deeply within me. Every note reminded me of the grandfather I never met.