Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day should be held in the utmost respect and reverence for the thousands of men and women who have served in the military protecting the liberties that we, as a society, take for granted every day.

This is not meant to be a political discussion. It doesn’t matter if you sit on the right or the left; arguing about the merits of our fighting forces does nothing but cheapen their tremendous sacrifice.

The only reason people are able to espouse such opinions and exercise their right of free speech is due to the strength and resolve of our veterans.

Remembrance and reflection has taken a backseat in the non-stop hustle of 21st-century society and our complete subservience to technology. When is the last time you turned off your cellphone, email, TV or computer and truly appreciated how great it is to live in a country like Canada?

I love the support provided by citizens during repatriation ceremonies along the Highway of Heroes, but it’s terrible to think that such an outpouring of compassion and thanks is catalyzed by the death of a soldier.

On Monday morning at 11 a.m., I implore everyone to shut off all communication devices and truly reflect on the lives that have been lost to guarantee our liberty. Two minutes is a miniscule amount of time to appreciate the veterans and the blanket of freedom they have provided Canadians.

I watch the Remembrance Day Ceremonies in Ottawa every year and it's always heartbreaking to watch dozens of elderly men and women reminisce about their wartime experiences. Although their words can't be heard, it's evident that they struggle with inner demons of what they saw and what they had to do during their time “over there.” Many have tears rolling down their cheeks.

Many veterans lived in an era where you kept things internalized. I’m sure many of them did extraordinary and heroic things, but they wouldn’t be caught dead bragging about them. That is extremely noble and refreshing in today’s look-at-me society.

The courage and bravery showed by veterans is incomprehensible to me. We live in an age where the sports media think 'courage' is a pitcher throwing on three days rest. Risking your life for your country is something the average person could never imagine.

I have no problem saying I am too much of a coward to serve in combat. It takes a special type of person with a bravery gene to risk life and limb. I am glad there are people willing to do the dirty work to keep us safe.

The things veterans see and experience changes them; they're forever haunted by their past. It's a steep price to pay for serving one’s country.

To all former and current military personnel: THANK YOU.