Editorial – Not forgotten

Jeff Burgar

Rodeos, hoedowns, fairs, graduation ceremonies, club dine and dances, church suppers, Canada Day celebrations, tournaments of all kinds, even many family suppers. All cancelled, because of COVID-19 disease fears.

These cancellations are very sad. But the events will return. There are many businesses which will not. Business closures were already a fact of live the past few years in Alberta. COVID-19 was, and will be, a final nail in the coffin for even more.

Now, Remembrance Day is added to a long list of shutdowns and downsizing.

Usually, Remembrance Day services concentrate on fallen soldiers of wars and missions in which Canada played a role. Just as honoured is recognition of veterans who have served but are still living and also recognition of veterans who served but died during peacetime.

We are thankful for the fact it was their willingness to go in harm’s way that today makes our nation and our lives safer. That these days we honour all such, comes with the fact there are fewer and fewer actual military veterans alive who served and were willing to make the greatest sacrifice.

Thus, it is always heartening and uplifting so many people attend Remembrance Day ceremonies across Canada, and in particular, attend our local services. As has been said by many people over the years, there is something extremely touching and heart-warming in the services that are held. This is as it should be.

There are opportunities during the year in which we can honour many groups. Fire Prevention Week and Firefighters Day. Doctors and Nurses days and weeks respectively. National Police Week. Military Appreciation Day. The biggest of them all in Canada is Remembrance Day.

The past few years have seen a countless parade of hurts to Alberta. Today, world energy prices are low. Consolidations and the search for efficiencies in the energy sector will continue to cause layoffs. As an exporting province, Alberta is vulnerable.

It is true that years of easy prosperity made successive Alberta governments careless and happy to solve problems by throwing money at the issues. At the same time as easy prosperity was taken for granted, little money was “put away for a rainy day,” so to speak. So, once again, as has happened several times across the past decades, it is raining and pouring.

The natural tendency is pull out the umbrellas, water pumps, the sand bags and try to deal with water and floods. Of course! But even in slow motion crisis, even in emergency, even in the midst of this other slow-motion disaster that is COVID-19, Remembrance Day is a time for reflection.

There are people who have put, and right now are putting, their lives on the line for our way of life and our future.

There may be no large gatherings. There may be small crowds and reduced services. But when the Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day arrives, and at other times as well, pause to remember. Think about our nation. Think of our duty. Think about what we must do to protect her and make all of us safe.

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