Lest We Forget


On the 11


hour, of the 11


day, of the 11



We will remember you.


Once again Remembrance Day is upon us. This is our opportunity to remember those who lost their lives in the past, to celebrate the veterans who survived and to support those who continue to protect us so that we might have a secure future. The veterans of the Great Wars have now departed this world leaving us to take up the torch. Sadly most of the youth and our young adults today have no real recollections of the sacrifices made by our forefathers except through movies and documentaries. We still have some veterans from the Korean War but they too are in diminishing numbers. Probably the closest we have for today?s youth are our veterans from Afghanistan and our peace keeping assignments. Although I am in my seventies I still recall members of my family returning to Toronto following World War II. I had no understanding of what the fuss was all about. These men were simply uncles returning from war. I had no idea what war was! Germany, Italy and Japan had no meaning to a six year old! As students we were educated about the wars and gradually I began to understand what had happened far across the seas. By the time I was in high school Remembrance Day took on a stronger sense of meaning. I came to the realization of why my uncles seldom talked about their experiences in the war. My grandfather was a veteran of both Great Wars and like my uncles it wasn?t something he talked about. He was very proud of his military life, his awards and medals but he never talked about how or why he received these honours. Strangely enough although he wouldn?t discuss his experiences he certainly let everyone know he had been involved. We used to laugh at the fact his mail from the hydro or the water bill was always addressed to ?Regimental Sergeant Major Arthur Hogg? followed by a list of his medals such the Military Medal and the Order of the British Empire. MM and OBE were always included on every envelope that arrived at the house. Even decades after the war Grandfather never made a move to change the status on his address. Mail sent to ?Dear Occupant? had no place in his mailbox. The curious thing is I don?t think I really grasped the meaning of war and its repercussions until I had children of my own. By the time my kids were in school the emphasis of Remembrance Day had changed. At first it was a holiday that few observed seriously and then it was a regular school day but with classroom lessons and special assemblies. That made sense and certainly became a teachable moment. Today I?m not sure how Remembrance Day is handled by the schools but I?m sure it must be difficult to really express the significance of the day since most of the teachers probably have never experienced the repercussions of war themselves. Here in the Georgian Triangle our veterans have not been forgotten. Cenotaph gatherings actually seem to be growing. Something is striking home with our citizens. Whether it has been the use of unwarranted attacks on our own such as Corporal Nathan Cirillo a year ago at the Ottawa War Memorial or Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent who was viciously run down around the same time or the return of the deceased along the Highway of Heroes, something has come alive as we remember these people for what they have attempted to do on our behalf.

To those who lost their lives and to those who returned, we remember! On this Remembrance Day, Canada remembers!

Kent Walton can be reached at

We Will Never Forget


Royal Canadian Legion

Branch 63, Collingwood

(705) 445-3780

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