Take two minutes wherever you are

Even though the act of remembrance will be a little more difficult this year due to pandemic protocols, it is essential that all Canadians do their level best to take two minutes and remember.

Live streaming and broadcasts will help share the experience at a safe distance, allowing viewers and listeners to reflect solemnly on the sacrifice of veterans honoured each Nov. 11.

Another suggestion for a reflective moment is to take a walk this weekend.

This year, numerous downtowns across Wellington County were enhanced by the Salute a Veteran banner program, honouring veterans of past conflicts. Through an initiative of local Legion branches, each banner was sponsored by a family, business or organization, allowing the chance for residents to recognize local veterans that at one time left the new world for the old, to fight against tyranny overseas.

In this area, the “Salute a Veteran” program was first launched by the Harriston Legion Branch 296 in 2014, based on a program initiated in New Brunswick. It has since spread to branches across the county and around the country.

While many of the surnames will resonate with locals and newcomers alike, what we found most fulfilling was the chance to see photos of veterans as young people. The majority of names rang with clarity, but for those I knew personally, it was only ever as older people. Seeing them in their youth, many smiling and decked out in their handsome uniforms, gave context to why we must remember and why we should never forget.

We must remember because they gave. They gave their youth, their innocence in many respects, and arguably their spirt. Of those who returned home, they lived with decades of memories that tormented their souls. And the greatest sacrifice of course was those who gave their lives in service of country.

World events today drive home the point of why their sacrifices meant something and why as Canadians we need to honour their efforts with conviction and sincerity.

Despite some misgivings and first world problems, Canadians remain blessed to live in a country where we are free to assemble, free to vote and free to live lives as we see fit.

Some might argue those axioms are limited or not far enough reaching, but given the chance to live in Canada or under the rule of a dictator, we will take democracy every time.

Please take two minutes and remember our veterans. It isn’t too much to ask.