Remembrance Day – important now as ever

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Pontiac Perspective by Peter Gauthier


Pontiac Perspective by Peter Gauthier

On November 11 each year, we pause to remember and honour the sacrifices our armed forces made for our country. The department of Veteran Affairs states it’s a date of “remembrance for the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict, and peace”.  We remember the places where Canadian forces distinguished themselves in battle. Vimy and Passchendaele are associated with Canadian action in World War One. Dieppe, the Battle of the Atlantic, and Juno Beach are part of our memories of World War Two. The Battle of Kapyong highlighted Canada’s forces in the Korean War. Kabul and Kandahar are more recent places of Canadian engagement. In addition, there’s Canada’s contribution to UN peace-keeping operations.
One immediately notices that these places are all outside of Canada’s borders.  One may wonder why the heroism and remembrance of Canada’s armed forces is centered on action in foreign lands. Historically, Canada was keeping its commitments to international organizations such as the Commonwealth and NATO when it sent its armed forces into combat on foreign soil, but there’s something deeper.
Canadians have always recognized that there are certain values essential to a meaningful human life and that a threat to these values anywhere on this planet is a threat to Canada.  It is now, on November 11, that we honour those who fought and sacrificed their lives so Canadians can have a place in the world, live
in peace and enjoy the benefits of our country as free and democratic citizens.
The actions of our forces in foreign lands have become an essential part of our national
consciousness. Their acts touch the lives of all Canadians of all ages and all social classes. In times of war, the people who stayed at home also served in factories, volunteer organizations, and gave full support to those on the front lines.
Today, where war is far removed from our immediate concerns and daily life, we acknowledge that the values and freedoms we enjoy were protected and enhanced by the actions of our veterans.
During the pandemic, our remembrance and thanks are as sincere and significant as ever, even if some public events are curtailed; wear a poppy and take a moment of silence at 11:00 AM on November 11, 2021. For this special Remembrance Day, 2021 is the one hundredth anniversary of the adoption of the poppy by
veterans and the 65th anniversary of Canada’s first UN peacekeeping mission.