Pausing to remember Canada’s brave men and women

A wave of silence will wash over the country tomorrow at eleven minutes after 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

During that time Canadians coast to coast will reflect on the sacrifices made by thousands of brave men and women who answered the call in times of war. Many of which paid the ultimate price, giving up their lives so that the generations that followed could live in peace. Their bravery has made it possible for any Canadian born after 1945 to grow up learning about a World War through black and white photos in a textbook, not on the front lines in full Technicolor. That’s a sentiment that should never be forgotten as some generations had the grim reality of enduring two major conflicts in the span of two decades. Some fortunate enough to return home from WWI were pressed into service a second time around, only to relive the horrors of war all over again. Something that should never be lost is that most of them were every day people, some as young as 18 (or even younger if they were driven enough to pass themselves off as older so they could join the fight). Part of what makes every veteran’s bio so compelling is to learn about what they did prior to being called into service. It really helps paint the picture of how ordinary men and women put their lives on hold, some jumping right into battle with little more than a few weeks of basic training. When put into context, it can really make the problems some of us face in our every day life not seem so monumental. It’s not even as if this situation is completely implausible today as countries around the world experience this reality today-Ukraine being one particular example, but certainly not the only one.

Of course, that’s not to suggest Canada’s military hasn’t gone to war since then-Canadians have played major roles in several conflicts around the globe in the last 77 years, continuing to do so to this day. Many times doing so at great personal risk, too many times coming home via the Highway of Heroes.

Here in Lennox and Addington, the last two years have seen subdued Remembrance Day ceremonies due to the pandemic. Undoubtedly it was the right thing to do, but it was still unfortunate to see a ceremony meant to honour our veterans had to be stunted. Tomorrow will see the return of a full parade with men and women dressed in their military best marching the streets to a local cenotaph. For the younger generations it provides the sense of pride that most of us can only imagine was felt in the aftermath of the armistice.

Hopefully those able to attend a service tomorrow will do so, or at the very least can watch one on T.V. For this reporter, the ceremony never ceases to conjure feelings of pride and gratitude with a healthy reminder of how fortunate we as Canadians really are.

Lest we forget.

-Adam Prudhomme

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