Most of us have no idea what it’s like.
We live in a world that seems quite chaotic, unsettled, a bit scary and uncertain. We worry about paying for hydro, eating healthy and staying fit, the high cost of gas, our kids’ education, our health, keeping our job. Our leaders aren’t doing all we think they should to make our lives easier, helping us acquire wealth, keeping us healthy, giving us more. We think we suffer, are forced to do without and it’s a lot to be concerned about day after day.
Most of us have never known what real trauma life can be for some. Most of us have never been in the armed forces. Most of us have never been involved in war and the kind of terror, starvation, upheaval any armed conflict serves up.
I have no firsthand experience with war or peacekeeping or anything directly involving any conflict but I have listened to the horror stories, told by my grandparents, of life during the First World War in Europe. As a teenager I had friends who joined the army and navy and one was for a time stationed in Cyprus, but thankfully neither saw direct combat.
We hear the tales and accounts, but to most of us it just seems like stories. Those, who are not most of us, have made sure we have not had to experience that kind of fear, destruction, oppression. On Remembrance Day, November 11, we honour the Fallen, the veterans and those active in our military for their service on our behalf. We thank them for our freedom, for making sure we have only to worry about paying bills, what to eat, the road conditions and wait times at the doctor or hospital. Because of the sacrifice of our military heroes we have the right to worship as we see fit, to vote and to gripe about the government - all the things we take for granted.
Most of us, who have no idea what it’s like, should take a minute each and every day, to appreciate and be grateful for all we have and pay tribute to those who gave so much to ensure our right to have it all.
If you are able take your kids and grandkids to a Remembrance Day parade and ceremony at your local cenotaph and Legion branch, talk with the veterans, listen to their stories and acknowledge their service. Wear a poppy with pride to show your understanding and gratitude for what they have done for us. Let them know how grateful you are that you have no idea what it’s like. Talk to your kids and grandkids about what the poppy represents, why and how we honour our armed forces and why it is so very important to never forget those who fought and died for our freedom.
Support your local Legion branch all year long for all the great work they do in our communities and for being advocates for our veterans and their families.