November 11th is well-recognized in most Commonwealth countries as a day where we take the time to recognize those who died in the line of duty during the First World War. In Canada, the day is observed with the wearing of a poppy on the outer collar or lapel in the weeks that precede Remembrance Day, couple with the calling of the roll on the day itself, observing a period of silence during the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
For me, the day holds a special place in my heart. Most of my family has served its country in some given way, shape or form. And in a variety of uniforms, no less. My own service has come at great personal cost, in recent years. As a result, I’ve had difficulties remembering why I put on a uniform in the first place. I need only to look at the history of the world to understand why it’s so important to remember the past. Or be condemned to repeat it.
It’s important to properly observe this day. If there’s one thing that pisses me off beyond reason, it’s when I see people starting to decorate for Christmas right after Halloween is done. Is Christmas an important holiday? Yes. Absolutely. But is allowing a period of remembrance and observance for those who fell in order to guarantee our freedom important, as well? I would say so.
My grandfather taught me everything I ever needed to know about honour, duty and obligation. They say that when an amputee loses a limb, they can still feel pain in that limb. Phantom pain, non-existent but felt nonetheless. Although gone, the pain is still real and very much felt. This is how I remember my grandfather. Gone, but still very much felt. I remember the stories my grandfather told me about his time on active front lines in Europe during World War II. He may have always been a simple working man from the North shore of New Brunswick. But to me, he will always be the hero who helped to keep his country free.
Today is important. No matter what country you may be reading this from, what your background or your beliefs may be, remember your heroes and remember their sacrifices. Hopefully, the world will never be foolish enough to engage in the sort of battles it did in the early 20th century. ☯