Wednesday November 11, 2009
We pause, we remember
“Freedom is never free.” — author unknown
We pause today to remember the price many have paid for our freedom.
Much of what we mark in our moments of silence occurred before many of us were born. But that should not — does not — make it any less meaningful for us all to honour those who sacrificed their lives for an ideal of freedom, whether they did so early in the last century in Europe or earlier this month in Afghanistan.
More than 1.5 million Canadians have served our country in war; more than 100,000 have died.
Remembrance Day was established to mark the end of the First World War — the major hostilities of that war formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, when the Germans signed the Armistice. Nov. 11 has also become the day we remember those who served in the Second World War and the Korean War — as well as the military missions that have followed.
And it is a day when we see, most markedly, the changing face of the Canadian war veteran.
John Babcock is the last surviving Canadian soldier from the First World War. He is 109 years old. The ranks of Second World War veterans are dwindling; those who survive are in their 80s and 90s. Greater numbers of Korean vets still survive, but they too are aging.
The wrinkled, weathered faces of our elderly veterans are giving way to the smoother, but barely less weathered, faces of our younger veterans who have come home more recently from the Afghan mission. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)