Mayor's Column, Remembrance Day 2017
On November 11, our nation will gather, pause, and remember.
It’s the least we can do.
Canada's history is both long, and short; but no matter how you define it, it is coupled with military action. Hundreds of years of conflicts in our modern territories, and intervention or peacekeeping across the globe.
Our role in the First World War was considered remarkable, with nearly 60,0000 lost and over 150,000 wounded, honoured by 8 memorials across France and Belgium.
Our role in WWII established us as a nation, for it was only a decade before that we earned our independence. Our role in conflicts ranged greatly, from support to leading the charge, but it was one thing always: proud.
Canadian Lester B Pearson is credited with the creation of peacekeeping, and the Canadian Military has been engaged in peacekeeping efforts since before the creation of the UN. The idea is simple: Canadian, or UN, forces help to prevent further conflict in a warring region, allowing the countries involved an opportunity to sort out a resolution. Since the first peacekeeping action in 1948, through to the recent fight against ISIL, Canadians have played vital roles in more than 30 conflicts, protecting civilians and aiming to help prevent further conflicts. The veterans of these conflicts deserve remembrance as do those who played roles in historic conflicts.
These actions all represent important moments in Canada's history, but shouldn’t be all we remember our veterans for. Our military play crisis support roles here on Canadian soil, having rolled out in the Red River Flood, the North American Ice Storm, and countless other wildfires and floods across the country. We saw evidence right here in Hinton last summer, when we were a stopover point for responders on their way to the BC interior.
I state this brief history as a reminder. Not in any way as a definitive history, but as way to remind of what Canadian Veterans have done for our Nation. We must not forget these world altering, historic actions. But I also ask you not to forget, Remembrance Day is not just about remembering the past, and the fallen, and those accomplishments. We must remember and respect those who carry the scars, both mental and physical, of conflict. We must remember the human cost, the families torn asunder, the true sacrifices of conflict, for it is in remembering our history that we may grow, and learn, and not travel the paths of our past once more.
This Remembrance Day, join Canadians nation-wide in wearing a poppy, visiting a Legion, and remembering in the hopes that we will never see the conflicts of our history becoming our future. Do not let this be a one and done – remember the history every day. Honour the contributions in every action. Build the future so many have laid down their lives for – one of decency, respect, and of the knowledge that everyone has fundamental freedoms, those of freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.
The Legion's Remembrance Day Ceremonies will be held at 10:45am
in the Hinton Centre on November 11.
Attendees are recommended to come early, as the venue tends to fill quickly.