Today is Remembrance Day, a day to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who have served, continue to serve, or gave the ultimate sacrifice for Canada. Since meeting Chris, Remembrance Day had taken on a whole new meaning for me. In the past, the history buff in me understood and observed the day for its historical significance and the sacrifices veterans of the World Wars. What I didn’t really appreciate was the sacrifices and lives of veterans in the decades after the World Wars. During my years in university, I had friends who lost loved ones fighting in Afghanistan and yet I still didn’t really see Remembrance Day as a time to remember those veterans. It’s not that I purposely sought out to ignore their contribution to our historical fabric, I just didn’t remember to honour them on Remembrance Day. Ironic, I know.
After meeting Chris and being together for 6 years, I can honestly say I do not forget to honour these brave men and women now. Maybe I should provide a little background. Chris has served in our armed forces for over 16 years, he is a veteran of both the Bosnia conflict and Afghanistan war. Sharing my life with Chris has made me appreciate and understand the importance of Remembrance Day. To me, it’s a day that I say thank you not only to my husband but to many in uniform, for taking on the task and responsibly that so many of us are unable to do. It’s not about the morality or ethics of a particular war or ideology, it’s about the men and women who are sent to fight these battles. Remembrance Day is about remembering how devasting war can be but that sometimes it was the only option. It’s about reminding our government that these men and women matter, not just on Remembrance Day but everyday. It’s about remembering those we lost, and those who return. It’s about education and opening people’s eyes to the battles that these veterans fight here at home, whether physical or mental. But above all, it’s about taking one damn day out of our busy lives to just say ‘thank you.’
Today I will remember and I am grateful. Lest we forget.