When Canadians mark Remembrance Day we tend to reflect back on the courageous service of our fathers and grandfathers on foreign soil so many years ago. The images conveyed through the pages of newspapers and television screens are of grey-haired veterans, medals glistening on the overcoats shielding them from the harsh November winds, wiping away a tear as they mourn the comrades they lost a lifetime ago.
The horrors witnessed by these soldiers, and the bravery they showed in the face of that horror, is something all Canadians should take to heart. They sacrificed their innocence, and in many cases their lives, to build a better world for us today.
Unfortunately, their selfless acts of courage were not enough to prevent their children and grandchildren from being called upon to sacrifice for their country.
That sacrifice was evident to all Canadians and those around the world as the tragedy unfolded last month at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was gunned down as he served as honour guard in front of the monument to Canada’s war dead on Oct. 22. The fatal shooting came only two days after W.O. Patrice Vincent was killed when he and a fellow soldier were struck by a vehicle driven by a suspected terrorist in Quebec.
So when we pause to give thanks to those Canadians who sacrificed so much so we could enjoy all we do today, let us also reflect on those sacrifices yet to come. And let us make a promise to ourselves to do whatever we can to prevent them and honour those who will be called upon to make them. It’s the least we can do for those brave men and women who will be standing in a cold, November rain as they think back on the sacrifices being made today.