Anna Phelan with her guitar

I dedicate this post to my friend and client, Anna Leigh Zirpolo (above), to all our forefathers, and to the men and women today who are still fighting for our freedom.

Anna Leigh Zirpolo is all about truth. She is one of my book-writing students and is currently writing a book called Mining The Truth. Scroll down to read more about Mining the Truth – a book about Truth, Freedom, and Liberty.

Anna is multi-talented, and beyond her book, she has composed a song dedicated to her maternal grandfather, Eben Chesterfield Murray, who she never met. He fought in WWI in France and died there.

Anna says: “He literally gave his life for my freedom, Our Freedom. The morning I wrote this song, I felt my grandpa with me. I am responsible for continuing the fight for Freedom, Liberty, Truth, and Choice.”


Anna’s grandfather, who fought in France, Eben Chesterfield Murray. The song is a letter to him.

A few words from Anna: To quote my 90-year-old dad who was eight years old in the north of England when the second World War broke out, “Freedom Is Not Free, and once it is taken it is never given back.” 

Seeing all the divisiveness in our beautiful country breaks my heart. Our freedom was not free. It was paid for with the blood of our parents and grandparents — all brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for us. I won’t allow their sacrifice to be in vain. Let us all unite for freedom. And freedom of choice. Love, Anna.

Please share Anna’s song with others this Remembrance Day (simply give them the link to this blog post). It is so important that we remember that men and women have been going to war for centuries, fighting for the freedoms that we have today.

My father, Jimmy Swadron, who fought in WWII

This is my father, Jimmy Swadron, who enlisted in the Canadian army during World War II. He was sent to Iceland and then England. He was injured by flying shrapnel during the Blitz and was in and out of hospital his entire life due to injuries from that time.

Still, my dad never complained. He worked two jobs to make ends meet and still sported a fantastic sense of humour. Always a kibitzer. Never ever did he speak of his time in the war.


My fiancé David’s paternal grandfather, John Halliwell, who lost his leg in World War I.



David’s paternal grandfather, John Halliwell, lost his leg in World War I in France. He was carrying an injured friend to safety in the trenches when a shell went off that killed his friend, and John’s leg was blown off.


Grandparents seated
David’s maternal grandparents, Michael and Alice Hall. Michael fought in World War I, 1914 -1918.





Do you have pictures of family members or friends who fought in the wars? Now’s the time to take them out, look at them again, honour them with your love and gratitude and say, “Thank you.” I know they will hear you, just as Anna could feel her grandpa with her as she wrote her remarkable song. Thank you Anna.





A book by Anna Zirpolo

In Anna’s book, she honours the voice of her 90-year-old father, Alan Houliston, and his father, William (Bill) Houliston. One of Anna’s greatest gifts these days is sitting beside her dad as he recounts the times of his youth and life so she can write and capture it in her book . . . so that the truth can be told.

Anna and her father
Anna Zirpolo and her 90-year-old father in November 2021

Anna’s book reads like a historical novel, but features 100% of her family’s personal truth. When Anna was only 21 years old, she visited her grandparents in the north of England and found a way to go down a mine to see for herself what her grandfather, and his father before him, along with hundreds and thousands of young boys and men endured in the horrendous conditions they were forced to work under.

Anna exposes the truth about her grandfather’s life after he was wrongly accused while working in the town’s Co-Op. This forced him to go down into the mines from which he never escaped until he was 65. With tenacity and an open heart, Anna was able to help her father to understand the truth.

In Anna’s words:The story is about the relationship between my dad and his father, and how an inquisitive and determined granddaughter shone a light on their troubled relationship, thus exposing the truth behind their unsettled past.

When the truth was revealed many years later, transformation and miracles occurred. We can change the past,” she states emphatically.

Photo by Megan Edge


Thank you to all the men and women who have been fighting across centuries, right up until today, as well as everyone who is standing up for freedom in the ways they can. We have a right to be free. And we have a right to choose. We can make our voices heard peacefully and stand united and respectfully in these choices even when they are different. I love how this picture demonstrates just that.

With honour and respect,

PS — If you would like my help to write your memoir, please get in touch for a complimentary call with me to discuss your project. That’s what I’m here for!




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