Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Remembrance Day 2010
This day really hits home for me as a proud Canadian.
This day symbolizes so much in my rich country's history of ridding the world of tyranny and giving all of us peace and freedom. This freedom which is now a right to everyone living in my beloved country comes from every single family in the first half of the century, and forged with heartache and ultimate sacrifice.
Generation after generation stepped up and gave more than what they were asked to give when it mattered most. At many times in my thoughts I wonder how many of the citizens of present day Canada would step up and answer the same call if it were asked of them...
I would like to answer that by being involved in a Remembrance Day ceremony in each and every town and city in Canada on November 11 each year.
Growing up as a child, I was taught the importance of this day. My father served in The Canadian Armed Forces, as did my grandfather. I remember being in school on this day during Remembrance Day ceremonies and being disappointed that my fellow students didn't approach this day like I did. They all seemed to be trying to be polite because it was asked of them, but I didn't get that they understood why this day was so important. I remember looking down at my shoes and thinking that I didn't know any of these people, and so it would be kind of stupid to feel sad about this as if I were at a funeral of someone I actually knew.
After all, my generation grew up not knowing war. My parents generation grew up not knowing war and human loss. That is 2 generations removed from the horrors of war, which is a long time. How could I be expected to really know what I took for granted every single day. For all I knew, every single person in the world lived as well as we did here in Canada. I had never stepped foot off of North America at the time, and I was ignorant as to how others in the world lived. I couldn't comprehend that freedom wasn't enjoyed by everyone in the world.
But then again, I was just a kid... What did I know...
Then in my mid 20's I travelled Europe, and the historic places etched in time that were consecrated in the battle for freedom. I felt the eerie presence of death and sacrifice. I stood in front of tombstones of the glorious war dead with row upon row of names that were unknown to me, but known to the cause of freedom. I felt a debt so overwhelming that I felt sick to my stomach. Knowing how close the world came to losing a war, that would've handed one of the most evil men in history the ability to rule the world was sobering.
And walking away from these hallowed places that serve as final resting places for people who could've made different choices in their lives was mind boggling. They now lie at my feet as servants to the cause of the freedom I enjoy today. How ironic, because it should be me, who should be laying at their feet to thank them for caring enough in our way of life that they would give the only life they had to ensure that freedom lives on.
So when I take my daughter out for the Remembrance Day ceremonies each and every year and she asks me, "Daddy, why do we do this?"
I can answer... "Honey, we do this so that each and every generation that is secure in freedom knows the cost of this way of life. To ensure that this is not forgotten, just the same way that you will teach your children what we are teaching you. So that we will live and enjoy our family and friends, and have every chance for happiness in every moment in our lives. And we owe this debt to those who we can never repay, and once a year we meet together in our communities to ensure that we will never forget this. Because this ensures our identity of living as free Canadians"
Lest We Forget...