Saturday, 11 November 2017

Lest We Forget

The above picture of the Unknown Soldier's Tomb at the National War Memorial in Ottawa has great meaning today as many men and women of this great country are living and working abroad in helping to maintain peace, protect our liberties and freedoms, and defend civilians in those respective from threats against them. There really shouldn't need to be much more said than the soldiers and personnel of Canada's branches of the military make me proud to call Canada home, and I'm grateful for their efforts, their sacrifices, and their bravery on this most important day to honour our veterans.

That being said, there have been a number of soldiers who haven't returned home, and it is their sacrifices that have helped Canada become the country it is today. These fallen men and women gave the ultimate sacrifice in helping to protect Canada from foreign forces, protect people in other countries who have asked for help, and worked to maintain global peace by maintaining order in places where chaos once ruled. It is their sacrifices that are honoured with this day, and I hope you can thank a veteran and pay your respects to those who gave their lives in the name of Canada.

Remembrance Day was started in 1919 by King George V that honoured the fallen by paying tribute to them on the day that marked the end of hostilities of World War I in 1918. Hostilities formally came to an end "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" after an armistice signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning came into effect. The First World War officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Originally called Armistice Day, Remembrance Day is now traditionally celebrated on November 11.

The poppy became part of the celebration in 1921. The poppy found its way into the day's tradition thanks to the poem "In Flanders Fields" written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, and real poppies were worn at ceremonies held for many years. Poppies bloomed across Flanders in World War I where some of the worst and most brutal battles were fought. Many lost lives there, and Lt.-Col. McCrae drew upon the poppy's red colour as a symbol for the blood spilled and lives lost in the war.

As more and more wars and military skirmishes happened, Remembrance Day has now become a more general day of tribute to fallen soldiers involved in all battles. I am encouraged to see more and more people of younger generations taking time to pay their respects to the many men and women still with us who were involved in these battles as well as paying respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. In a world where the global community grows closer each day, perhaps this will be the generation that finds peace and diplomacy far more advantageous than war.

Tonight, I'll be doing colour commentary for the UMFM broadcast of the University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team as they play the visiting University of Regina Cougars. There will be a moment of silence prior to the game in honour of Remembrance Day and the sacrifices made by many soldiers, and I hope that it finds meaning with all in attendance.

I lost my grandfather a few years ago, and he served in World War II with the Canadian Air Force. He never spoke at length about his military career at any time to me, but the pictures of him in his officer's uniform were displayed prominently at my grandparents' home. I know he was proud of his time served, and I just hope he knows that I'm still proud of him. My moment of silence will be for him today.

Until next time, pay your respects to a veteran today!

No comments: