Every Remembrance Day, people with long memories stand outside and watch as veterans and current serving soldiers, police and cadets march past on their way to a community’s cenotaph.
November 11 is a day of remembrance, of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our nation and of those people who served and survived.
Typical November 11 ceremonies tend to focus in on the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War and, in more modern times, Canada’s actions in Afghanistan and in other hot spots around the world.
There is, however, another hot spot we should remember, and that’s right here at home.
Those who survived conflict are often forgotten during this time of remembrance. In recent years, however, there have been plenty of stories of vets who have been left without support as government offices close and services are reduced or centralized. There is a hope that under the new Liberal government in Ottawa, that will change, and those soldiers suffering with illnesses and injuries at the end of their service will receive the respect and treatment they deserve.
It’s one thing to remember and pay tribute to the dead. It’s another to pay our debt to the men and women who we, as a society, sent somewhere to fight or to keep the peace.
Whether one agrees with it or not, the larger society we live in calls upon individuals to serve in a capacity that could see them lose their lives. We ask these people to put themselves in harm’s way when we — through our governments — need them to do so.
It is unfair of a nation, or even part of it, to turn their backs on them when they return and look to re-integrate into life in Canada.
Soldiers are asked to train to fight, to protect the country and express its interests overseas.
All they ask is that they are not forgotten.
As long as we feel, as a society, we have a need for a military, we must take care to ensure the people we ask to make a sacrifice are welcome and looked after when they come home.