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Saturday, 29-Apr-2017 19:12:21 EDT
lest we forget
by E.STEPHEN JOHNSON
SPECIAL OCCASIONS

Most of us have known only peace in our lifetimes. As much of a blessing as this most surely is, we need only recall that such was not the case not that long ago.

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
John McCrae, 1919

As a child and young man, Remembrance Day was the day each year I saw my grandfather cry. Like most of his – the Greatest Generation – he was a veteran. In his case, a former member of both the Royal Navy and Royal Marines. As an immigrant to this country he found fellowship in the Legion which played a role in his social and community involvement through to his death. At his funeral service the salute from the Legion members was among the more touching moments. And all about the human face and the human hearts behind the pomp and ceremony and beyond the brutal statistics we must respect and note on this most solemn day.

In the last century over 116,000 Canadians died in the service of their country. As we know all too well, the price of service paid in blood has continued for our nation into this century with our heros and veterans from the Afghanistan mission, the newest in a proud line of men and women who have answered the call of their nation. Where "veterans" once meant older men, it can and does today also mean men and women younger than the average Canadian.

Most of us have known only peace in our lifetimes. As much of a blessing as this most surely is, we need only recall that such was not the case not that long ago. The fact that we can take so much for granted is in no small measure directly tied to the sacrifice of those who served. The acts of Remembrance are our thank you. Our freedoms the reward for the price paid by others.

Today, if you are privileged to have a veteran in your life hold them dear as your act of thanks. Lest we forget.

E.Stephen Johnson
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