As a Canadian, I frequently think about the sacrifices so many made for our country so we can enjoy the freedoms we have today. Freedom of expression, religious freedom, democracy, and the ability to disagree are a few of the many rights we enjoy because Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members stood up to tyranny and evil.
This year, as our Canadian allies face war on not only one continent, but two, I am reminded once again of the gravity of the sacrifices made by the men and women of the CAF.
As we witness the challenges our world faces, the sacrifice and work our men and women in uniform should weigh heavy on us. And we must not forget the sacrifices it took to build our nation, and how we must work to remain free.
It reminds me of a quote often attributed to Winston Churchill. “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” A history which is woven into every part of our nation.
Earlier this spring, my family and I were travelling across Battle River—Crowfoot when we came upon the site of a church that had long since been demolished, and all that was left was a historical cairn and cemetery. As we stopped for a few minutes to look at this local history, some things stood out. One was a couple of military grave markers, those simple white marble headstones, which mark the final resting place of veterans. Whether in the military cemeteries which lay adjacent to famous battlefields, or a few stones standing in a cemetery only accessible by a dirt road, hidden behind a few trees on the otherwise bald prairie; the history and stories of sacrifice ring throughout our nation, and we cannot forget them.
There are practical things we can do… teach our kids about Remembrance (which I attempted to do in that little cemetery in rural Alberta), promote ways to help veterans and Remembrance causes, and of course, respecting the men and women who wear the uniform today. This includes ensuring they have what they need in the course of their duties, along with the supports to cope with their seen and unseen injuries, or when they leave the CAF at the end of their career.
But beyond the practical, our nation needs to always be one of honour. We must never forget and always remember. And as we approach Remembrance Day and Veterans Week, let’s show that by honouring those heroes who have served, and those who are serving.
I am proud to represent a riding rich in this history, from the small-town soldiers who went to flight wars over seas, to the members of the military stationed at Camp Wainwright today.
May God bless our troops, God bless Canada, and lest we forget.
For folks across Battle River—Crowfoot, I have put together a website with all for the Remembrance Day Services, find out more here: www.damienkurek.ca/remembrance. Together, let’s Remember.