This week our country was saddened to learn of the death of a young soldier, killed while training at a military base
On Tuesday, three days from now, we take time to honour and remember those brave and gallant men and women who have fallen while in service to our country.
Remembrance Day is a time for sober reflection but also a time for each one of us 35 million Canadians to experience the immense gratitude we should all feel for the sacrifices those many thousands have provided for us today.
We live in the greatest free country in the world. And while many of us take these freedoms for granted we only need talk to some of our neighbours – immigrants from many countries around the world – who will gladly share with us the extreme joy they feel every day they are here, for they know all too well that those freedoms, which arguably should be a right for all, exist only for a privileged few, and we are among those few.
We are blessed to live in a country where we can be stressed by first world problems.
Some of us get bent out of shape when minor things happen, for example during the recent power outage in Calgary, and those who do so, should have an even greater sense of gratitude that can only come from understanding that when minor inconveniences cause enormous discomfort in one’s life, it is because they have never experienced, and have no clear frame of reference for, real struggles, real challenges, real hardship, real fear and real adversity.
The brave young people who serve in our military and those who serve as our first responders are Canadians whose valour and heroism can and should never be underestimated nor taken for granted.
It takes an inordinate amount of courage to put on a uniform when knowing that doing so makes you a target and that each time you put on the uniform may well be your last.
I have the distinct privilege of having become acquainted with several former members of our military who have served with distinction in Afghanistan and as I listen to their stories and learn of the horrors they faced and the evil they fought my own sense of gratitude knows no bounds.
On Tuesday, I implore each of you to not view this as a day off from work to be spent playing but rather as a sombre day of paying respect for those whose efforts past and present allow us to enjoy the wonderful lifestyle that Canada offers us all.
Each of our fallen heroes answered the call of duty and gave their lives so we can live in a country where we are free to speak our minds, criticize our leaders, pray to whichever god we choose, disavow all gods if we wish, vote without fear and live as we wish.
We have the right to succeed at a stratospheric level and fail at a catastrophic one.
And yes, we have the right to whine, moan and complain about everything.
And we owe all that to those folks we honour on Tuesday and to all those who serve today.
Next time you see a person in uniform, take a moment and say, “Thank you.”
It’s the very least we can do.
Till we read again.