Lest we forget

Anyone born in Canada within the last 74 years is extremely fortunately to live in a free country during a time of peace.

Most born in the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation-the era of population growth seen following the conclusion of WWII, are now old enough to be grandparents. Canada is now on its way to a third generation of peace from a world war. Though that’s not to overlook the brave men and women who signed up to serve in Canada’s Armed Forces in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Darfur and several other nations across the globe that rely on Canada’s assistance to keep innocent lives safe.

Those now in their 80s and 90s weren’t so fortunate. Though many were more than willing to enlist to fight against Axis Powers in WWII, they did so at considerable risk. For those born in the early 1900s, they had to endure two World Wars within a 20 year span. With each passing year there’s fewer surviving veterans from WWII, let alone WWI, which concluded 101 years ago. That makes for fewer and fewer opportunities for today’s youths to hear firsthand accounts from veterans who answered the call for their country in a world war.

That can make it that much harder for this generation to fully understand what it was like on the front lines and what horrors they were fighting against. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That’s not to say it isn’t absolutely imperative that Canadians continue to honour the memory of those who served, proudly wearing a poppy and attending Remembrance Day ceremonies. Canadians must never forget what they did on Juno Beach, at Ypres, Vimy Ridges and countless others. The fact that it’s hard for younger generations to fully understand the horrors of war means the sacrifice made by thousands of men and women before them had meaning.

They fought so that their sons, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would be able to live free and enjoy the basic human rights that we all too often take for granted. Here in Lennox and Addington there’s plenty of opportunities to at least make an effort to try to understand what it was life to answer that call. Banners honouring local soldiers that served now line the streets of Greater Napanee. A simple stroll through town affords the opportunity to put a face to a name. There’s also the Anne Frank-A History for Today exhibit at the Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives. Though it may make for an uncomfortable topic-it’s an important one that must be talked about for generations to come. Then there’s always a local Legion. Lennox and Addington is fortunate to have active Legions that do so much in the community to honour our veterans.

However someone chooses to pay tribute, it’s important to at least make the effort. It’s the least we can do. For those brave men and women who keep us safe, thank you.

-Adam Prudhomme

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