Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It's only two minutes ...
Remembrance Day always leave me feeling unsettled and emotional. Remembrance Day in Toronto makes me even more so – for the simple reality of our mosaic which incorporates the most diverse group of cultures, colour and backgrounds of anywhere in the world means the solemnity and respect which I’ve always accorded this most important date is often given short shrift.. leaving me resentful and angry.
Rationally, I realize that it is difficult to empathize with the profound gratefulness and respect that most Canadians hold for those who have served in Canada’s name. I have to remind myself that the intensity with which most Canadians greet our military’s efforts in countries which do not enjoy the same freedom and rights that we do here is not always understood.
Perhaps more than ever today, however, we MUST teach our citizens to remember with respect, with gratefulness, with pride and with sorrow, those who have died not just in the big Wars which are receding now into the mists of history, but all the ones since.
Probably more than at any time in my tenure here in this wonderful country, do I internalize and understand the true nature of the sacrifices being made by young men and women, who in the name of decency, who in the belief that every individual in the world deserves certain rights and freedoms serve now, right this MINUTE in a country far away from home, in a culture foreign to their upbringing, in a place where danger is around every corner.. they LIVE the dream of freedom and put their lives on the line in its name.
Children the same age as MY children are giving up their lives, their youth and living with courage, dignity and respect a reality so many of us simply take for granted.
As someone who has experienced many times over the past few years, the solemn, respectful greeting of our dead as they travel the Highway of Heroes, this war in Afghanistan has given a face to what used to be an ideal that while respected, was removed from my own experience.
I have watched the hearses pass under the bridges which are crowded with the everyday citizens, as well as the fireman, the police, the veterans, many wearing red… flags snapping in the breeze, the silence profound as homage is paid to the boy or the girl in the coffin within.
I see their faces in the papers and read their stories and mourn the loss of futures barely realized.
So, on this day, at 11 a.m., PLEASE stop whatever you are doing. Stand proud, give with your silence and thoughts the respect, the thanks, the homage that these young warriers have earned.
And to put a face on the reality of the soldier’s lives – thank you Buffalo (Vietnam vet), thank you Derek (still in the military, decorated twice for bravery in the Bosnian war), profound, grateful thanks to each and every one of the brave individuals in our military.
You do us proud.
Posted by selkie at 6:42 AM