Once a year we take time to remember those who gave their lives in wars fought on foreign soil, defending our rights and freedoms that we enjoy today. The Highway of Heroes was aptly named in honour of those who most recently have given their lives in military duty.
Today in Ontario and Quebec business will go on as normal with a brief respite at 11 AM to observe a moment of silence, while in other provinces it is an observed holiday. I don’t know why in our two provinces it continues to be a day of work instead of a day of remembrance, especially given that the young people of today are face to face with the reality that people they know and love may not come home again. I didn’t face that in my generation in Canada. I had many relatives who fought in WWI and World War II, some of whom may not have returned home to their families, and as such I had never met them. There was no real impact. My wife’s father fought in Korea, a war that wasn’t even recognized by the Canadian government until a scant few years ago.
Today is different. When we hear about young soldiers who have lost their lives it strikes hard that indeed, this person could have been our own son or daughter, niece or nephew or the next door neighbors child, or someone that my kids knew from school. Reality hits much closer to our own comfort levels today. I will take an hour to watch the proceedings at our local Cenotaph and forget about work for a while today. I urge everyone to take more than a moment today. A simple pause to reflect does not do justice to those in the service. They deserve our utmost respect and support.
After the moment of silence today, why not take finger to keyboard or pen to paper and write your local politician and let them know that Remembrance Day is important, more important than Victoria Day or any other Bank holiday. It is a day where everyone in Canada should be united in their support of all people past and present who committed to the service and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
I have a young friend whose brother recently returned from duty where his vehicle ran over a landmine. Over beers one night the stark reality of war was put to music. Please give a listen to Karl’s song “Only a Soldier Understands.”