Let’s re­mem­ber their sac­ri­fices

The Compass - - OPINION -

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.

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