Let’s remember their sacrifices
There’s been a heartening trend developing in recent years when it comes to remembering and honouring the sacrifices and contributions of the men and women who serve — and have served — in the Canadian Forces.
Many observers have noticed that attendance at Remembrance Day ceremonies have been growing in many instances, and thanks to the efforts of school districts and veterans organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion, young people seem to be taking a greater interest in the subject.
Another factor may be routine news reports of Canadian soldiers being injured and killed in Afghanistan, where the international community has been struggling since 2002 to bring stability and peace to this war-torn country. And it’s a well-documented fact that Newfoundlanders make up a disproportionately high number of Canadian Forces personnel.
So remembrance is no longer just about honouring those who served and died in the First World War, the Second World War of the Korean Conflict. And the term “veteran” has a new meaning these days, with some as young as 20 years-of-age returning to Canada — many of them showing t he scars of war, both inside and out — after havi ng be en en g a g e d in heavy combat in a far-off, inhospitable land.
We’ v e all seen news coverage of military funeral s for n a t iv e Newfoundlanders killed in battle in recent years. It’s heart-breaking and sobering to watch. Whether you support or oppose the political decision-makers who send Canada’s young men and women into harm’s way, we believe it’s important that we show our respect and appreciation for those who so unselfishly carry out those orders. Only those at the so-called “tip of the spear” know the true courage and sacrifice involved.
On Thursday, Nov. 11, there will be Remembrance Day ceremonies at cenotaphs throughout our region, and people of all ages will gather in a spirit of comradeship and reverence at Legion branches inBay Roberts,Brigus, Carbonear,Dildo,Harbour Grace andUpper Island Cove. Will you be among them? Will you watch the live coverage from Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa? Will you don a poppy and pause at the 11th hour on the 11th day for a moment of silence? Have you contributed to the annual Poppy Campaign, which raises funds to help veterans and their families?
These are all questions worth asking, and worth pondering.
Why? Think of the many thousands of Canadians and many hundreds of Newfoundlanders who have died in wars, and the many families that have been so deeply impacted by the trauma and upheaval that often accopmanies armed conflict.
With all that, it’s probably best said in three words — Lest We Forget.