Always remember…

This November 11 marks 90 years since the armistice that ended the Great War. It may be a stat holiday (or this year, some of you may have taken a four-day weekend), but it’s more than that. It is a chance for us to commemorate the great sacrifices of Canadian soldiers and peacekeepers from the Boer War all the way to the present conflict in Afghanistan.

When I did a guided tour of London and Paris this past summer, our bus stopped at Vimy Ridge. Going up to the National Memorial there, it was incredible just to walk around it and read the inscriptions, particularly the names of the soldiers who lost their lives during that battle in April 1917 [wiki].

vimy-ridge-1

It was similar to my visits to old cathedrals and castles elsewhere in my trip, but Vimy Ridge was special in that I could almost feel the heavy seriousness of what transpired there 90 years ago, but also a sense of sereneness; the memorial is a permanent reminder of our past, of what many young men endured to secure a peaceful future for generations to come. Obviously, it came to naught 21 years later, but their sacrifices should never be taken in vain. Now more than ever, especially with one remaining surviving Canadian veteran of the First World War, we should take a renewed interest beyond the history books and look at the experiences of the soldiers and record them for posterity.

Do take a moment at 11:00 on 11/11 to pause and reflect. Lest we forget.

vimy-ridge-2(wreath laid at the base of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial)

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