We must remember those who served

November 11, 11 a.m., 1918 marked the silencing of guns in France as an armistice was reached. The war to end all wars was over.
This Sunday, our community will meet at the cenotaph to mark the 100th anniversary of that moment. From Canada, a nation of seven million people, 450,000 left for Europe and 60,000 failed to return. It had a huge impact on us as a nation.
Just over two decades later, with Canada’s population now reaching 11 million people, more than one million Canadian men and women served in the military during the Second World War, with 45,000 giving their lives and another 55,000 being wounded.
During the Korean War from 1950-53, some 26,000 Canadians participated with the United Nations’ troops and 516 Canadians lost their lives.
Over the next seven decades, Canada has participated in peacekeeping exercises around the world and has fought alongside NATO troops in Afghanistan and Eastern Europe. We have suffered casualties in every decade.
Looking at the Canadian National Defence website, our military today is involved in 21 different operations around the world and some nine different operations within Canada.
Those Canadian operations include fisheries patrols, sovereignty patrols, search-and-rescue, support to Canada Parks by preventing avalanches, maintenance of the High Arctic communications systems, and assisting in fighting forest fires.
Canadians continue to be found in hotspots around the world, including supporting the United Nations’ mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, strategic airlift support between France and the Sahel region of Africa, support training of the Niger armies, and supporting the United Nations’ stabilization forces in Mali.
In Ukraine, Canadians are assisting in training Ukrainian security forces.
Canada’s military maintains a presence in the Arabian Sea in counter-terrorism, are observers in the Sinai Peninsula, and assists local security forces fighting Daesh in the Republic of Iraq and Syria.
Currently, Canadians are assisting in humanitarian efforts in Indonesia, bringing supplies to the region around the island of Sulawesi that was hit recently by both an earthquake and tsunami.
When we visit the cenotaph on Sunday, we must remember all the men and women who have served in the Canadian forces and have contributed to the peace and security that we enjoy as Canadians.
We must think about the men and women from this area who today serve in our armed forces in Canada and around the world.
The liturgy that is used across Canada and Britain came into being in the 1920s at the urging of King George. The sameness from year to year makes Nov. 11 such a solemn event that helps remind us of the sacrifice of those troops who boarded ships to Europe between 1914 and 1918 and those million men and women who left the safety of their communities to travel to far parts of the world between 1939 and 1945.
It also makes us think of all the millions of Canadians who have served in Canada’s armed forces in war and in peacekeeping in the last 70 years, and who continue to serve around the world.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail