On November 11, countries all around the world set aside a few minutes every year to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who fought and gave their lives for their country. We also remember our veterans who have made sacrifices but were fortunate to come home. Many on this day will remember friends and family taken from them on the battlefields of Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan, just to name a few. In Canada, much like most of the commonwealth countries we refer to this day as Remembrance Day. In many other countries, this day is referred to as Armistice Day, Poppy Day or as our neighbors to south refer to it as Veterans Day. The connection and pause in each however, is the same.
I have always been fascinated by the sacrifices and the challenges that our parents and grandparents took on when they stood up against the tyranny in Europe and the Nazi regime. The same applies to many of the worlds other battlefields. The fight was for freedom. A fight for the right to have a say in how your country should be run. They also fought for protecting a way of life, traditions they cherished and a future they believed in. They made sacrifices for the protection their families.
What sticks out in my mind however, is that they fought for Unity. Our veterans made these sacrifices because they believed in Unity. The Unity of a nation and the Unity of a world that required then and now, freedom. In North America, today many of us take for granted the very rights and freedoms these sacrifices were made to defend. King George VI stated in his address at the dedication of the National War memorial in Ottawa, Canada in 1939 “Without freedom there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom.”
Today the fight continues for peace and the freedoms associated with that peace. We live in interesting times. Our world is not short of battlefields. As you pause to remember today, think about peace and its importance to your life. As you remember today, think about why we must remember the importance of fighting for and keeping the peace each and everyday and not just once a year when we pause for that brief two minutes of silence.