Remembrance Day Nov. 11

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

In 2014, my wife was working for the Canadian Psychological Association with their offices in downtown Ottawa. One day they had a bunch of meetings in Chateau Laurier adjacent to Parliament Hill; something which wasn’t uncommon in the slightest.

She left her office, walked the few blocks up to Chateau Laurier, past the Canadian National War Memorial and the soldiers on guard and started attending the meetings.

It wasn’t very long before the building was complete chaos, on lockdown, with heavily armed police everywhere.

Even where I was working, more than a 10 km drive, all the government offices next to us had gone on lockdown.

One of the soldiers she’d walked past that morning was Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who was fatally shot that day.

For us, this is the closest we’ve been to this type of thing; luckily in Canada, it’s quite uncommon largely in thanks to soldiers.

In my personal experience, there are noticeably fewer veterans now than even five years ago which is somewhat backed up by the numbers; Veterans Affairs Canada served 192,597 veterans and survivors in 2016-2017 compared to 210,076 in 2012-2013 (I didn’t manage to find the total number of veterans by year but for 2017 the veteran population is estimated at 600,300).

Furthermore, veterans from the most recognizable conflicts such as the Second World War are becoming older (an average age of 92) making them less visible to some extent.

Every year, around Remembrance Day, I get a little sad because we are slowly losing their incredibly valuable perspectives, the lessons that can be learned from this group of veterans and the opportunity for our young people to really connect with what it means to be part of wars of that scale.

When I was a little boy, I struggled to connect with what it really meant to be a veteran or to serve. Growing up in the Netherlands, there was obviously a lot of emphasis on appreciating what soldiers had done and even in my small town, there were soldier graves in the graveyards but simultaneously in the safety of the modern world, it all seemed incredibly far removed.

For me, having listened to veterans through various Remembrance Day projects and the 2014 shootings at Parliament Hill are personal reminders of not only the type of situations soldiers have to deal with and the consequences of their service but also why we should appreciate the safety and peace afforded to us by their service.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Brent and Craig Lelleau of Lebleau Brothers Logging star in Mud Mountain Haulers on Discovery Canada. (Photo submitted)
Mud Mountain Haulers shine light on forest industry

New TV show, featuring Lebeau Brothers Logging and shot in the Cariboo, premieres tonight.

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Map of EnGold sites in Lac la Hache. (EnGold Mines Ltd. image)
EnGold contemplates future of possible mining project

There be gold in Lac La Hache- or at least the promise of substantial deposits.

Colour brings literacy alive (Black Press Media).
Literacy: ‘Endless realms of literacies’ still to discover

For many of us, the definition of literacy means knowing how to read and write texts.

Joyce Cooper (left) said she had to set an example for Tsilhqot’in communities by sharing her COVID-19 positive results. (Photo submitted)
Tsideldel off-reserve member documents experience of COVID-19

We should all be supporting one another and not judging each other, says Joyce Cooper

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Second doses delayed as B.C. vaccine delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

Most Read