The theme of this year’s Veteran’s Week in Canada is ?How Will You Remember?? Perhaps the more important question is ?Why Should You Remember?? Simply put, there are more than 110,000 reasons. That is the number of men and women who have died in service to our country. In total more than one and a half million people have served and continue to serve in combat and peacekeeping missions all over the world.
These people are not faceless. They may be our neighbours, friends, or even sons and daughters. Their sacrifice is real and personal and is shared by their spouses, children, and families. The sacrifice may be anything from extended time away from home and family to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to debilitating injuries to death.
Years ago, as an elected official, I gave a Remembrance Day speech. My son was a teenager then and I spoke about how as a mother I couldn’t fathom sending a boy off to war not knowing if or in what condition he might come back. Years later, I feel the same way. I am still in awe of those mothers and fathers who kiss their kids goodbye as they support their child’s calling.
The very least we can do is acknowledge and honour the sacrifices that these brave men and women made and continue to make. While the rules and tools of combat have changed over the decades, the mission and the goals remain the same: to protect peace and freedom efforts around the world. We are blessed that a war has never been fought on Canadian soil. Through God’s grace may we be spared ever experiencing the cost and horror of combat at home.
With veterans of past conflicts getting older and dying it is more critical than ever that we preserve the history and awareness of what has happened. Resolving to work toward peace and avoiding armed combat is part of our shared duty.
How will you remember? We can make sure that no matter where we are or what we are doing on November 11, we take time for two minutes of silence. This is not just a ?day off.? Wearing a poppy, attending a Remembrance Day ceremony in your community, laying a wreath, and respecting the moments of silence are some of the easiest ways to show our gratitude.
But each of us can do more. We can talk to young people about war, we can personally thank armed forces personnel when we see them, and we can encourage our government to improve resources for veterans and families who have lost members to war. If we have young children we need to support teachers? efforts to instruct through art, poetry, school services, and special projects like writing letters to soldiers. For many more ideas for Veterans? Week activities check out this site.
Every morning that we wake up safe and free in the best country in the world, we need to say thanks. Remembering is the best way, from where I sit.