Lest We Forget

08.November 2010

Our Journey

A red poppy grows in Century Park in Shanghai.

We will be heading to the cenotaph on Thursday morning to pay our respects to those who currently serve, and those that have served, in protection of our country. It will be, as always, a moving day.

Thursday, November 11th is Remembrance Day here in Canada – as it is in all Commonwealth countries. A day to commemorate the sacrifices of men and women during times of war. A day to think about those that go out, in our stead, to ensure that our way of life is protected.

I never used to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies. I thought of Nov 11th as an extra day off…a free day to do with what I pleased. I don’t know what changed my mind, but there came a time when I realized that it was important that I take the time to go. That, yes, it would mean I probably couldn’t go biking that morning or lounge around the house all day in my pj’s but that it was worth my time anyway.

Having been away for the past year has only cemented how important this day is for us. We have now seen parts of the world that are not as lucky as we are.

Last Nov 11th we were in Nepal, trekking in the Himalayas. It was not lost on us how lucky we were to have the opportunity and resources to be so far from home. We took the time on that day to observe the two minutes of silence and to be grateful for our luck to have been born when and where we were.

Being in Berlin, and seeing where the wall used to be, was emotional for me. I was able to imagine living in one of those apartment blocks on the eastern side, peering over the wall to the west at all the things that I would have been denied.

In Vietnam I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be an American soldier in that hot, steamy, thick jungle and coming up against a Vietnamese farmer. How would I know if they were friend or foe? What would I do?

What if, instead, I were the Vietnamese farmer? And my farm was under siege. How do I know I wouldn’t be shot? How will I feed my family now that my farm has been sprayed with defoliant chemicals?

We live such insulated lives, away from many of the events that directly influence the lives of other people. I have never personally experienced war, or real political instability, or hardship of any kind. I am lucky to have grown up in Canada.

And so you’ll find us there on Thursday morning, rain or shine, straining to hear the service as we gaze upon the men and women who serve for us and remembering the sacrifices of those who are no longer with us.

I hope we’ll see you there.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month’

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4 Responses to “Lest We Forget”

  1. Glenda Says:

    Thanks…

  2. eric Says:

    Thanks Gillian….Veteran’s Day isn’t honored nearly as much as say, our “Independence Day,” which is weird because we wouldn’t have the one without the other.

  3. Mandy Says:

    I used to feel the same way you did about Remembrance Day…another day off. A few years ago, something changed for me. It is now a family tradition that we all go. JP wears his uniform, even if not participating in the ceremony and we go. Rain or shine. It’s the least we can do to show our appreciation. Great post.

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