Today is Remebrance Day. Veteran's Day. Armistace Day. Whatever you call it, however you refer to it, I hope you make a point today of thinking about it. This is a day for poppies, for bugels and bagpipes, for uniforms and medals, for wreaths and speaches. This is a day for old but brave soldiers, for young but broken warriors, for sad but proud families. This is a day for countries and nations, for peace and freedom, for promises and resolutions. This is a day to talk to your children about what happened before you were even born, the price that was paid by many brave someones many years ago, many miles away.
War is hard for Canadians to understand, because since 1970, there has not been anything resembling a battle on our soil. We have become accustomed to thinking of ourselves as a peace-loving nation, and we tell ourselves that we are globally respected internationally for being keepers of the peace.
What we all too easily forget, is that the reason we have peace within our borders, the reason we live with abundant freedom, the reason we have a proud military heritage, is because 95 years ago young Canadian men (and women) undertook the horrific and frightening task of restoring peace to Europe with no guarantee of victory or even of returning home again, to this country seemingly so far removed from 'the action'. It would have been too easy to pretend that what was happening to people an ocean away had nothing to do with us in the New World. Canada was barely a country yet -- they could have been forgiven for staying home to plant their crops or fill newspapers with their opinions on how Europe should deal with the situation.
Instead, we as a country are able to tell stories of Ypres and Passchendaele, The Somme and Vimy Ridge.
It is all too easy to glorify war. It is not romantic. It is brutal and inhumane and frightening, decimating families and communities and even entire cities. To this day, the scars of World War I and II are visible throughout Europe, and if you will listen, there are still men and women who want to tell you their story.
It is too important to be forgotten. Today we remember.