On this day when we honour those who have fought for our country and our freedom, it’s hard to find the words to express just what they have given each and every one of us.
Remembrance Day isn’t just about war and those we’ve lost, but about ideals and what we stand for. It’s about respecting our past and looking hopefully forward, and more than anything, thanking those who have served.
“As most people in Canada today have never experienced war, “Remembrance” becomes a challenging concept to incorporate. How do you remember what you haven’t known? Some have been fortunate to have had relatives; grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-grand parents, who shared their stories of war and peace. Some, our newer Canadians, have sought Canada as a new home, safe from their own war-torn motherlands. We have all studied some Canadian history in schools. But the vast majority of us, especially the youth, have no first hand or even second hand knowledge of war. And thankfully so. But we can come to understand and appreciate what those who have served Canada in times of war, armed conflict and peace stand for and what they have sacrificed for their country.”
“The Canada Remembers Program endeavours to keep alive the achievements and sacrifices made by those who served Canada in times of war, armed conflict and peace and to promote an understanding of the significance of these efforts in Canadian life as we know it today.
We live in a wonderful country, full of opportunities and freedoms we often take for granted. You can be sure that Canadian Veterans do not take our situation for granted. Young men and women sacrificed all they knew, all the comforts, love and safety of home in order to defend the rights and freedoms of others. Some returned with permanent physical and emotional scars, bound to haunt them for the rest of their lives. Others never returned. Veterans know the price paid for our freedom and they want all Canadians to share in this understanding. In fact, now, more than ever, they are passing the torch of remembrance to us, to the people of Canada, to ensure that the memory of their efforts and sacrifices will not die with them, and that an appreciation of the values they fought for will live on in all Canadians.
Canadians have a reputation of being a peace loving nation, and this has been demonstrated time and time again when we have engaged in combat and peacekeeping operations for the sake of protecting humans rights, freedom and justice around the world. When you think of Canadian efforts in war and peace you come to realize that our desire to help was never motivated by greed, power or threats. It was in and of itself, a desire to protect human rights, all humans’ rights.
So, although many of us cannot actually “remember”, we owe it to those who have served to learn, to understand, and to appreciate the task they have undertaken. Generations of Canadian Veterans, through their courage, determination and sacrifice have helped to ensure that we live in a free and peaceful country. If we can understand this, how can we not pause and say “thank you” in remembrance of such an accomplishment?”