Remembrance Day is almost here – and it falls upon all of us to attend ceremonies where and when possible.
As civilians, it our obligation to honour those who have served and serve in a military or peacekeeping capacity.
This day, November 11, is for us to not just remember all who have died in war and conflict, or who help(ed) uphold freedom from tyrrany, oppression, intolerance and want. It is to learn from those who have served, to learn about their experiences – if and when they are willing to do so.
War is not to be glorified or entered into without completely exhausting all avenues to avoid it. But when called upon, our unconditional support must be provided to those who enter into it.
Freedom is never free, and a posting I saw on Facebook recently spells that out.
In the posting, a man and woman are standing on the beach and enjoying the view. But right below them is another scene showing soldiers fighting and defending against those who would try and take that freedom away.
I’ve met many veterans and United Nations peacekeepers over the years. I want to learn from them what they have experienced.
With the number of veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War becoming fewer and fewer each year, that’s something that everyone should do, especially children and youth. It’s incumbent on civic organziations, schools and parents to provide those opportunities where possible.
It’s always good to see schools hosting their own Remembrance Day services with invited guests, plays and other activities. Kudos to the schools for instilling that sense of responsibility to learn about conflicts past and present.
Like many people in this area, I will be attending the Remembrance Day service in McLennan.
But it will be slightly different for me, because of the passing of Don Fish earlier this year. While Remembrance Day is always a solemn occasion, I always admired him for the professionalism and integrity he brought to the service each year.
He will be missed.
And let us thank all those who volunteer their time to sell poppies for Remembrance Day. This includes members of the Royal Canadian Legion, cadet groups and others.
The weather is not always ideal for them to do this work in. And kudos to those businesses and organizations that allow them inside or outside their buildings to do their work.
I lament when I hear about stores or organizations that reject requests to sell poppies at their respective locations. Maybe it’s a simple misunderstanding, or a deliberate act. All I can say is, I hope that they reconsider their positions out of respect for those who serve and have served.
In the end, some may question why we should hold Remembrance Day services in the first place, that global conflicts are now a mere distance memory and only valid and valued by people from those eras.
But to posterity I say, honour those who made it possible for you to enjoy the freedoms you have now.