Editorial – Why we remember

Chris Clegg

This Saturday, Nov. 11, many of us will gather in Royal Canadian Legion halls and other venues across this great nation to thank the men and women who served in our military and remember the sacrifices made.

We have all heard many stories of the sacrifices made. Many did not return home after the war leaving shattered families to deal with the grief of a lost loved one.

War is a messy business. It is so horrible beyond belief that some return home never to speak of the atrocities that occurred. Needless killing, living like rats in trenches, being placed in unimaginable situations that called for actions normal humans would never commit, hunger, disease, misery.

But yet, we must remember there was a reason.

The price to pay for fighting the evils of some regimes like Hitler and putting them to bed is high. It is human nature to dominate, yet the domination wanting to be imposed by some must be challenged and defeated.

Freedom is perhaps a human’s most valuable and treasured right. The freedom to live in peace, without fear, to practice one’s chosen religion, to eke out a living no matter where we live. The cold, hard fact is there are many who want to tell us how to live and take away these rights is the darkest chapter in human history. To compound the problem, these evil people spill across borders to impose their will to the next nation and its people.

It is frightful this occurs in so many places in the world today. In Canada, most of us turn a blind eye to the world’s atrocities and go about our business. We truly take what we have for granted.

When the situation becomes so bad we have to go to war. To protect ourselves, to protect our neighbours and friends, but most importantly, to stop the aggressiveness of the perpetrators.

Many of us cannot comprehend the idea of signing up to go to war. Canada has lived in such a peaceful time for so many decades our young people cannot fathom the idea of not enjoying the freedom too many of us take for granted. It is especially moving each year to hear High Prairie Legion president Don Ebbett read the names of those who lost their lives in war. Many in their twenties, some in their late teens. How incredibly sad to see precious lives end so soon.

Ebbett adds a veteran’s greatest fear is we will not remember. The fact is, we do not forget. Each year, many of us will attend a service at a Legion hall or other venue to remember and pay our respects. It does not mean we do not remember the rest of the year, but Remembrance Day is a special day set aside each year to ensure we remember. Speeches given by dignitaries remind us. Teachers in schools teach our young the importance of remembering.

We must also remember for one other important reason. If we do not remember, history has a nasty tendency to repeat itself. We remember not only for the sacrifices made but to ensure we “will stand on guard for thee” should we have to, and to send a message to the rest of the world that we will fight for our precious freedoms at all cost.

No matter why you choose to remember, please, just remember.

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