“Lest we forget” is as synonymous with Remembrance Day as the poppy.
First and foremost, the simple, three-word phrase—which Wikipedia says first was used in a 1897 poem written by Rudyard Kipling entitled “Recessional”—is a poignant reminder to all of us to never forget the brave men and women who gave their lives far from home in defence of our freedoms and values we enjoy today.
It's especially important, of course, to pass that along to our children and grandchildren as memories of the horrors of the First and Second World Wars fade away with the passage of time.
But “Lest we forget” also extends to remembering the terrible cost and 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 being torpedoed.
That Canadian families never again would have to endure the anguish of losing a son or daughter, father or mother, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece in battle.
This Remembrance Day holds special significance since the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marks the 100th anniversary of when the guns fell silent to end the First World War. Unfortunately, the so-called “war to end all wars” wasn't the case as just 21 years later, Nazi Germany invaded Poland to start the Second World War.
And although there hasn't been another conflict on a truly global scale since then, fighting in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, and, most recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan, clearly shows world peace remains painfully elusive.
Still, for the sake of those we will be honouring this Sunday, and the loved ones they left behind, it's a goal we much never waver from trying to achieve no matter how difficult the task.
Lest we forget.