Curiouser and Curiouser...

My Adventures in blogging, digital and Public History

Saturday, November 11, 2006


It’s November 11th. The haunting sound of the pipes playing Highland Cathedral and The Maple Leaf Forever resonates. I saw the veterans today at the Cenotaph full of pride and pain, poppies displayed prominently as a sign of remembrance. There were others too. People like myself who came to pay respect and to reflect. Of course, this day more than any other, I find myself reflecting on the sacrifice so many have made. And this year, more than any other in my lifetime, the reality of that sacrifice is evident. 43 Canadians have been killed in Afghanistan since the mission began. My generation now knows the costly reality of war and the ultimate sacrifice many are willing to make for freedom.

I don’t think of Remembrance Day as just a commemoration of long ago wars. It is also a time to reflect on the sacrifice so many have made and a time to wish for peace. There are those who feel that there should not be a Canadian presence in a war, in a country, half a world away. Pacifism is more the norm than the exception now, and we as Canadians seem to have strong aversion to being involved in foreign conflicts. But, even if we don’t believe in war, can we respect the ultimate sacrifice these human beings made?

I try to rationalize what Canadian troops are doing overseas. For me, they are essentially freedom fighters, defending and trying to secure the basic human rights that we, as Canadians, sometimes take for granted. It is a noble mission. When I see the faces of so many who have been deprived of these fundamental freedoms, I understand why the soldiers had to go. It is not about politics or alliances. It is about humanity.

Reflecting on the impact of war and conflict is an individual thing and on November 11th especially, I do think about the thousands of Canadian troops who have died and continue to put their lives at risk . Whether I agree with the politics of war or not is irrelevant; this is a debate for another day. On this day, those individuals who gave the ultimate sacrifice should be remembered for their bravery and courage.


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