It’s a blessing that most Canadians alive today have not had to endure the horrors of war.
But with each year putting the terrible human cost and suffering of the First and Second World Wars further into the past, and fewer and fewer veterans still here to recount their stories, it’s only natural that the sacrifices of those brave men and women who fought and died far from home in defence of our freedoms and values also fade from memory.
Which is why it’s so important to pause at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month each year to solemnly remember our war dead and never take for granted all we enjoy today because of them.
It also extends to remembering the futility of war; that those who gave their lives did so in hopes that young Canadians never again had to storm beaches amid a hail of machine gun fire, dodge anti-aircraft barrages aboard planes, or patrol the oceans under the threat of striking a mine or being torpedoed.
World War One was dubbed as the “war to end all wars” but, of course, we know that wasn’t the case. And although there hasn’t been another conflict on a global scale since WWII, regional fighting in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, parts of Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan over the years clearly shows that world peace remains painfully elusive.
Still, for the sake of those we will be honouring on Friday, it’s a goal we must never waver from achieving no matter how difficult the task.
It’s great to see so many residents wearing a poppy each November, as well as continuing to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies at their local cenotaph, whether here in Fort Frances or right across the district.
Kudos, as well, to the Fort Frances Lions Club for holding its peace poster contest for local students each year. It’s a wonderful way to instill this crucial message among our youth and ensure it lives on with each new generation.
Be sure to show your respect and gratitude on Nov. 11 by wearing a poppy and/or attending a cenotaph service. Equally critical, though, is reinforcing the importance of Remembrance Day in our children and grandchildren.
Lest we forget.