I attended the Remembrance Day ceremony in the park by the house this morning. The participants get younger every year. From Vimy Ridge all the way to Afghanistan, we gather to thank all those who fought and still fight under the Canadian flag.
A grandfather plays with his grandson waiting for the ceremony to begin. It is vitally important that the old teach the young why we come together once a year in memory and celebration of the contribution that so many men and women have made.
Canada has such a proud military history that we need to cherish. The thousands that died in the First and Second War reach out from their graves to welcome those who are still dying today in the defense of freedom.
I guess my work at the Toronto Aerospace Museum is responsible for how different I feel about Remembrance Day than in years gone past. Being surrounded by reminders of how fragile the aircraft were has made me realize just how brave these men and women were. The tail gunner’s turret from the old Lancaster bomber sits at the entrance to the restoration room. I wouldn’t be able to fit in it and a brave young man sat in it for hours on end – cold, cramped and alone. He could see the fighters diving at him, he could feel the flak bursting all around him. To think that he not only did this once but day after day is amazing.
So, we gather and we remember. We bring our children out in the cold and ask them to stand quietly. They stare at the young cadets who form the honour guard with their ancient rifles barrel down. They listen to the chaplain read the prayers. They sing the National Anthem. What is going through their young minds? What questions do they ask their parents and what answers do they have to give?
They shall not grow old
As we that are left, grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them
More pictures are available here