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WriteOut of Her Mind

by Kelly Waterhouse


Promise me one thing. Promise me that on Nov. 11, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you will join in the two minutes of silence at 11am to honour the sacrifices of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice so you could live in this wonderful country. Because for all its faults, taxes and imperfect processes, you know as well as I do that every day you wake up on Canadian soil, you are fortunate.

I am happy that Remembrance Day falls on a Sunday this year, because it means we can all take part. It always frustrated me that once I was done with school, I couldn’t get to a ceremony.  Most of us don’t have jobs that allow us the opportunity to participate in arguably the most important community gathering of the year.

A poppy on the lapel of my coat is nice, but being there, at the service, showing up when it matters? That’s what matters to me. Leaving my poppy pinned to a wreath at the end of the service is such a lovely, poignant tradition. Next year I will be one of the many that miss watching the Legion Colour Party parade pass, the pipe bands play, the speeches and prayers, and the laying of the wreaths. But I will still bow my head and give thanks in those two silent minutes.

This Sunday, I can walk to the cenotaph with my family, the significance of which is not lost on me. Together, the Carpenter and I are a blending of generations of families who endured the horrors of war, some whose faces have only existed in black and white images, the young ones who never made it home, and others whose stories and memories of survival and resilience are weaved through the fabric of our own family histories. We also have family who served in the armed forces in the years after the World Wars; my father in the Canadian Navy, which had a significant impact on his life, and the Carpenter’s eldest brother, who fulfilled his career in the Canadian Armed Forces, a soldier through and through. Different stories, but important all the same. From generation to generation, Canadian pride is in our blood.

I enjoy visiting the Wellington County Museum’s Remembrance tribute too. With 526 markers bearing the surnames of citizens from each of our towns, all set to be lit with candles on Saturday evening, there is something so peaceful and hauntingly beautiful about this display. It puts the cost of war to Canada’s small towns into perspective in a truly special way and brings it home.

Everyone has the right to partake in Remembrance Day in their own way, but I hope you will make time to express your gratitude to those who fought for the privilege of your freedom, those men and women who shaped the Canada we live in today, and to those who continue to serve our country into the future, because it’s an uncertain future we’re facing.

Let’s remember who we are, as Canadians, by never forgetting how we became a great nation. It wasn’t railways, treaties and parliamentary speeches, folks. It was blood, grit, courage and a belief that our values matter. That our identity matters. That our humanity matters.

Promise to remember.

Two minutes. Make it count.


Vol 51 Issue 45


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