Jack Brezina: Thank you
|By Jack Brezina - Contributing Writer | November 9, 2017|
This past weekend, you were asked to pause for a moment and think about the men and women who died in the service of this country. Remembrance Day, November 11, is an annual commemoration that marks the moment the truce ending World War One came into force, 99 years ago.
While almost a century has passed since that truce, there have been other conflicts and more names added to the list of soldiers lost. Fortunately, since the end of the Second World War, in September 1945, the number added to that list has steadily declined. The latest conflict to which this country has been committed, in Afghanistan, has resulted in 159 military personnel being killed. This compares to 47,000 in the Second World War and 68,000 in the First World War. Over the years, more than 115,000 Canadians have died in combat. Countless others returned home wounded. Many of those, including those not physically wounded, carried the mental and emotional scars of conflict.
War inevitably ends with a determination of winners and losers. However, as the numbers above indicate, though some can claim victory, it often comes at a very high cost. We are fortunate to be living in a time of few conflicts and reduced causalities, but peace can be a very tenuous. In fact, ensuring the maintenance of peace is often tougher than engaging in war. But that is surely why these Canadians and others went to war. They accepted a responsibility to preserve and create a better life and world for everyone at home. They put their lives on the line for us and we should honour that sacrifice by continuing our quest for peace.
So, as we stand in silence and the Last Post sounds on Saturday morning, who are we honouring? First, it is the Canadians who gave their lives for their country who deserve our respect. Their sacrifice, and that of their families, merits so much more than our annual commemoration. Then, we must remember the many who returned wounded and scarred. And, finally, the countless others who answered our country’s call, must be in our thoughts. There are still many veterans from the Second World War, Korean and Afghanistan conflicts with us today and they need to know the citizens of Canada appreciate their sacrifice and bravery.
Perhaps the simplest thing we could all do, beyond paying our respects this Saturday, is to introduce ourselves to one or more veterans in our community and just say “thank you.”
Jack Brezina is a contributing writer for The Highlander.