Some of you might be thinking it’s high time someone puts this day to rest once and for all - why should any Canadian care.
You’ve heard all this before. Why should any Canadian these days make a case for Remembrance Day? Some of you might be thinking it’s high time someone puts this day to rest once and for all - why should any Canadian care. World War II has been over for more than 50 years and a lot of heroes, the ones who fought in the First and Second Word War, are long gone. This is the past and that’s where it should belong, in the past.
Let me say this, I am not here today trying to put an end to Remembrance Day; I am here to say let’s keep it going. We must not only do this for our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, we also should do this for our young men and women serving in the military today. We need to remind our children that our freedom came at a hefty price, the lives and sacrifices of men across the country.
Despite my “big talk” about why we should remember these men on Remembrance Day, for me the Second World War seems foreign. I wasn’t born until after it was over, so why should remembering this day matter to me?
My Father fought in the Second World War as a young man before he got married. He believed in what he was doing. My Father didn’t talk too much about his experiences in the war. My family knows that he was a gunner operator in a tank, but that’s about all we know.
Personally, I wouldn’t say my Father was an important person as far as Canadian War Veterans go; he was just an ordinary man with a humble beginning, but a man like most back then, an every day person who had dreams of a bright future and safer tomorrow. They were called upon to serve their country at a time when all they should have been thinking about were getting married, having families and finding work. However, many of these Canadian men made the ultimate sacrifice.
In my life, I have often thought about this – my father could have been one of the many men who died during the Second World War. If he had died, I wouldn’t be here today trying to convince you to stop and ponder Remembrance Day. None of us, his nine children, many grandchildren, and great grandchildren would be around today to honour him on Remembrance Day. We would not have had children ourselves or grandchildren, a great tragedy in my view.
For a moment, just think of all those Canadian men who could have survived the war and built upon their own lives as my Father and Mother had or as your own parents. “What about all those men who did die?” They gave up more than their lives. They gave up wives, children, grandchildren. They gave up contributing to this country as Canadians. That is a great sacrifice
My Dad made it through the Second World War and I am grateful. What about all those other Canadian men who did return home? We all need to say thanks to these men who have given of themselves in a way most of us will never experience. We will never know unless they tell us what they lived through in the experiences and tragedies of war. When I was young, my Father told me, “What you see on TV about war doesn’t even come close to what went on over there.” He never offered more than this as an explanation.
Think of an alarm clock. Most of us set the time to get up in the morning. Otherwise, we’d all sleep in and forget to do what we had planned to do that day.
The same holds true with Remembrance Day.
If I want to think about the great sacrifices of men of the First and Second World War, and of course of young men today who gave their lives for Canada, we need an alarm clock of sorts to make us think about these things. This is what all Remembrance Day is for, a reminder to stop doing the things that we so freely do today in our great country of Canada, and pay homage to the men who fought the wars to protect our freedom. We are here today living a good life because of these great Canadian men and we need to thank them.
Our Canada is great today because of these men. END
Suzanne Berton © http://www.artabus.com/berton/