Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest we forget

Today at 11:00 AM many of us will pause for a moment to remember our veterans, to remember the battles won and lost, to remember the bravery and sacrifices men, women and entire families make to secure freedom. And many of us will shed a tear - I know I will.

I believe war is pointless, we are a rational, loving people and war is a terrible thing. But, I also support our troops serving today and yesterday. I admire their courage and pray for them and their families. I may not agree with the involvement of Canadian troops in far off battles such as Afghanistan - but I believe in freedom and I believe in human rights. But more so, I believe in God and I pray that conflicts around the world be resolved in a peaceful manner. I pray that innocent lives are protected and that those serving our country, any country, return home to their loved ones alive.

Last night we went out for dinner. We parked on Bank Street, just south of the Queensway. There is a little sewing supply store, we happened to park in front of this establishment. There in their window hung two signs. One indicating the regular store hours: Monday to Friday 10AM to 6PM, Saturday 9AM to 6PM and Sunday 12PM to 5PM. Nothing out of the ordinary there.
But paired with the message of the second sign, I was very turned off and a bit appalled. I was very saddened, sickened, and angry. I was dumbfounded by the message of the second sign, taking into consideration that this establishment only opens at noon on Sundays. You see, the second sign read as follows, " In accordance to City By-laws we will not open until 12:30 on Sunday, November 11".

Because of city by-laws... not out of respect for our veterans. This establishment is opening one half hour later than normal not to be respectful, or patriarchal, but because the law says so.

Perhaps the person who typed out that sign did not mean any disrespect, perhaps they were just stating the facts. But I read that sign and felt the tone was condescending, cockiness and it made me think perhaps this store owner was a bit ticked off he would loose one half hour of business time on a weekend. Well, many families and soldiers have lost much more than that.
These are the facts that matter:

*In the First World War, 625,825 Canadians served in that war with 61,082 of those being killed and 154,361 Canadians being wounded.

*In the Second World War, 1,086,343 Canadians served in that war with 42,042 of those being killed and 54,414 Canadians being wounded.

*In the Korean War, 27,751 Canadians served in that war with 516 of those being killed and 1,072 Canadians being wounded.

* During Canadian Peacekeeping missions from 1950 to 2007 more than 100,000 Canadians have served and 100 have been killed. Seventy-one Canadian military personnel have been killed since 2002 in the war-torn country of Afghanistan.

The fact is, Canada has and continues to make huge sacrifices and a few moments of tribute to the men and women of our military is not too much to ask.

I am not sure why the wording of the sign in the at window of that store angered me so much. Perhaps it is because my Papa was a POW in the Second World War. He was a wonderful man, but I know that so much of his heart and soul died during his time at war and the months that he was held captive. I miss him. And my heart goes to every family who has lost a family member and to those separated by war and peacekeeping missions. Perhaps I was angered since with modern media we see the horrible images of war, and to me, opening a store a bit later on Remembrance Day is no big deal - but marking and paying tribute on Rememberance Day, is a big deal - the real deal.

I remember and will always remember, I will never forget - thank you to all who have sacrificed so I can live free.

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