At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

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The Old WarriorWe celebrate all those who went to war.  Especially those who did not return or have passed on from illness or old age.

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.

Generations

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.

Copyright by Ken MistI 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.

The YoungSo, 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