Bennett's Blog

Remembering what's important on Remembrance Day

Bennett R. Coles | November 11, 2012

Today is November 11th, which is Remembrance Day in Canada, the day we take time to remember the men and women who served in the Canadian military in the past and those who serve today. The focus is generally on remembering the sacrifices they made, as it should be.

As a veteran of 15 years myself, at the parade and service today I actually spent some time remembering something else. I stood there in the cold and the light rain, trying to still my fidgety 3-year-old who was more interested in picking at the wreaths lined up next to us than listen to the prayers and poems. He certainly took my focus away from where it "should" have been, but I really didn't mind. Because by spending that extra time with my son I was able to remember something just as important on Remembrance Day: what we have today.

I have a wife and two children whom I love. I have a house that keeps me warm and dry, a job that puts food on the table, a car to get me around in bad weather, and friends who support me. When I was overseas in uniform I sometimes had none of these things, although the cold and the rain were always eager to show up. I remember Christmas Eve in the Golan Heights, standing watch as a UN Peacekeeper, hoping that on that frigid night, of all nights, the Israelis and Syrians would not take shots at each other and thus my Norwegian OP mate and I could stay safely in our hut.

The men and women who made such sacrifices for us did so in order that we could have the safe and comfortable lives we enjoy. The petty concerns we wrestle with are, for the most part, insignificant compared to what many veterans endured and - just as important - what many civilians in troubles countries even today endure. We have it good, and that is something I took time to remember today.

We remember. Lest we forget.

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