Monday, November 14, 2005

Old soldiers never die...

Went with C. to the Cenotaph on Friday, November 11, to pay our respects both to the old soldiers who are still able to march, those who aren't, and the many who never got the chance to wear the title "Veteran". C. goes every year, and every year I mean to go or say I'll go; but by the time we part for the evening on the 9th or 10th, I always end up making some excuse why I can't get out of bed early on a holiday after all.

This year I had a few personal reasons for attending, and they had to do with more than just admiring C. for doing it every year and wanting to spend the time with her. No, this year with everything that's happened, I realize more than ever how lucky I am to live in the country I live in; and the very real and personal sacrifices that were made to entrench the principles that I value - "peace, order and good government"; a strong social safety net; tolerance and freedom; a strong Canadian identity built on multiculturalism; civility and mutual responsibility; a hand up when you need it; a country that is a beacon of safe harbour to the human orphans of the troubled world. Those are the principles my grandfather fought for in England and my cousin fought for in Afghanistan.

And speaking of that, it was also an opportunity to thank those who serve today, represented by a contingent of young fresh-faced boys and girls from across Canada, pink and tan and chocolate-brown faces serious over green uniforms. We were all thinking, I know, as we applauded them on their march by, that most of them - based at CFB Gagetown - are either on their way to Afganistan, or freshly returned.

The "War to End All Wars" indeed.



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