Thursday, November 11, 2010
Lest We Forget
On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month we will remember them.
Today is Remembrance Day here in Canada, Veteran's Day in the US and Armistice Day in the UK and France. While originally only commemorating the Great War (WWI), and then both World Wars, today we remember all of our veterans of all conflicts, and our Peacekeepers around then world who so bravely serve and fight for our freedoms and way of life. Where ever they are, remember our serving men and women, and their families who stand up for what we as a nation stand for.
Whether in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda, or Haiti or those from conflicts further in history, remember the important and great work our men and women have done and continue to do.
Bayeux cemetery is a multi-national, mutli-faith cemetery where far too many soldiers are buried. The thing that I remember most though is meeting this beautiful woman who had been in Bayeux when the battle took place there.
She was 16 years old and like so many women of the time took care of the wounded and dying. Every week since then she has tended the Canadian graves at this cemetery. At the time it had been 56 years.
For 56 years this woman tended the graves of those boys, and they were boys 16-22 mostly, who had come to liberate her country from horrors she still will not speak about.
Grave after grave, and so many saying only "To Be Known Only Unto God". Boys no older then I was then. So many heartbreaking inscriptions. To this day I cry when I think about it. So many families left behind.
On the anniversary of D-Day we were in Bennie-sur-Mer, on Juno Beach. The beach Canada took for the allies in what is still one of the greatest military operations in history. We were invited to march through the town as part of a parade to commemorate the liberation of the town, and at the end to sing O Canada while ground was broken on what would be a memorial centre. People hung out the windows watching, and when they saw our flags and jackets with the maple leaf they cheered and waved. We heard more the one Vive la Canada! Merci Canada! And these were not just from the elderly who had lived through it, but all ages who had been brought up to remember. I cannot tell you how proud to be Canadian that memory makes me.
Today and everyday may we remember the sacrifices of those who have gone before us, and who go before us now so that we may have our corner of freedom and peace.
For those who are teachers, please continue to teach our history. We cannot forget the huge sacrifices that have been, and are made every day by not only those who serve in our armed forces, but their families as well. Bring out the old text books with more than one chapter on what has made us.
Bring alive the history, the human sacrifice, the trials and triumphs.
Our country came of age in the midst of horrendous wars. We stood tall when greater nations fell. We volunteered more men per capita then any other nation. We held lines when others ran. We took the field when wave after wave of others had failed. We showed kindness to those who had been so brutally mistreated. Europe does not forget and neither should we.
Be proud of our history and our legacy. Teach our children to be. Teaching them that our peace came at a terrible price does not glorify war and violence. Teach them that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. Teach our children that peace is the ultimate goal, but it is not always an easy one. It takes strength to stand up. And as Canadians we have long and proud history of standing up. Teach them to continue that. Especially when it is hard. Teach them to call those who do nothing out. To Stand On Guard. Our anthem is not just another song. Teach it to them.
So that never again will our nation, or any other, ever be called upon to make such a sacrifice again.
Lest we forget.
Posted by Cara Wilson at 2:39 AM