For decades Canadians and Americans had very little in the way of present day reminders when it came to Remembrance Day.
Veterans from previous wars were harder to find each year when Nov. 11 rolled around but the war in Afghanistan changed all that. Not only were there new veterans of war returning home to Canada but there were more images of war showing up back home than ever before.
So much was being reported on back in Canada and the United States that, at times, images were pulled from publication and broadcasting for fear it would overwhelm the general public and breed a level of anxiety that neither Canadians or our cousins to the south wanted to see in their society.
Images of war are just one way of telling the story of our current veterans and those that served in decades past.
The stories these veterans can share, when they are able to do so, can teach the next generation valuable lessons about why we should never, ever have to endure the horrors of war again.
Those who fought in the trenches in Europe, who flooded the beaches of France, who rolled through the streets in Holland know first hand war is not the answer.
No one wins in a war. There is loss, destruction and devastation on both sides of the line of fire.
While the reasons for going to war are often justified, in the end, the people who suffer are not the leaders whose activities led to the war but are felt by the every-day citizen who didn’t want to go to war in the first place.
It’s unfortunate in this day and age, after generations and centuries of war around the globe, we still can’t seem to come up with a better way of handling our differences.
Of course, when a leader of a country is determined to force their way of life or their idea of what is right on another people, often there is little left to do but to fight back.
Defending those who can’t do so themselves is why Canada is often placed in the position of defending peace in various parts of the world.
For generations, Nov. 11 has come to symbolize a moment in time when everyone can and should take a moment to be grateful, to appreciate the sacrifices that were made so today’s Canadians can enjoy a free country.
It doesn’t take much to wear a poppy, attend a Remembrance Day program or even just stop at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 and just be silent for a minute.
Given the heavy price that many families paid in years past and even today in the name of protecting the rights and freedoms we often take for granted, a minute of silence isn’t too much to ask.
It’s a minute that has been earned with years of sacrifice.