A day to celebrate and remember

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Life does not consist mainly -- or even largely -- of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that are forever blowing through one's mind at ceremonial events. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “They are dead; but they live in each Patriot's breast, and their names are engraved on honor's bright crest”. Each November 11th Remembrance Day, all Canadians should stand ready and determined to remember and to repay our individual debt to all men and women heroes one and all, along with their families for their sacrifices. As a proud Canadian I have never missed my annual excursion to the nearest Cenotaph to pay my respects and say my thank you. I take that solemn moment to remember that they gave their very best so I renew my duty to do the same for my Country. These men and women gave so that those who hunger are fed; those who are cold and are clothed for those that are repressed are safe. A Country at war as we are today is not spending money alone on weapons and killing machines. Canada is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense”, especially in 2009, but rather a hope for international peace and security not only around the world but also at home.

Standing before that cold piece of slab with countless names of fallen men and women, each year I ponder on these words written by Mark Twain as he attempted to answer the question - What Is Man? Accordingly he concluded that “Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out...and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel. ..And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood

off his hands and works for "the universal brotherhood of man"--with his mouth.” I’d think he’s referring to politicians, but I could be wrong. This by no means forges the idea that he didn’t support the troops of his day, as I support the troops of my time, it’s just that I detest war as he did and loss of life unfinished in doing the Creator’s work. It is these hundreds of thousands of Canadian individuals who are and have served our country that I have the deepest pride. These individuals have and are holding up the values we stand for: peace, freedom, democracy and human rights. These are real heroes and I find myself very small in comparison. Unconsciously I have a standard by which I measure other men, and if I examine closely I find that this standard is a very simple one:

I admire them; I envy them, for great qualities which I surely lack. Hero worshipping consists of just that. My heroes are the men and women who do things which I recognize with regret and sometimes with a secret shame that I might not be able to do. In those moments of self reflection I find not much in myself to admire, I always privately want to

be like these Hero’s who have given there all. Through their selfishness I stand today alone. Thanking them I am able to embrace the best values of family, friends and country and renew my devotion to that which I hold dearest. Remembrance Day is a Day To Remember but also to Celebrate and be extremely Thankful we are in Canada. Nobody deserves to be helped who doesn’t try to help himself, and "faith without works" is a risky doctrine, and I have faith in Canada and its future because of those Hero’s.

Geographic location: Canada

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