Remembrance Day is almost over, but the sentiment it is meant to express lives within my heart every day. It’s a day to remember those that have fought for our freedom. Those whose blood and sometimes very sanity have been shed in a quest to keep their family, friends, neighbours and even strangers safe; from those that would oppress. From those that would annihilate others that are different then themselves. I was grateful to those that served before I became a mother, I was taught how my freedom had been garnered through the brave sacrifice of others. I loved history as a teen, I found reading it at times appalling (some of the horrifying actions done in the names of advancement, religion, and so many other excuses that were used to justify atrocities) and at other times it was heart-warming, and inspirational. I learnt at a young age that no soldier chooses for the wars to start. But they do choose to be the virtuous, honourable men and women that fight, and defend, and stand strong in the face of atrocities so vile the majority of us couldn’t even handle one day of, never mind several months or years of. They do this, they live through it all, just so we are spared those very same atrocities.
Then I had children. One summer afternoon I watched as my eldest (then just 3yrs old) rode his tricycle on the side walk by our apartment. I watched as the sun glinted upon his hair, the warm breeze carried the scents of someone’s barbecue, mixed with rich blossoms and his laughter glittered upon the air like crystals of joy as he finally got the hang of peddling. It struck me at that moment how lucky I was that others had fought so I could experience this moment as only one can when there are no threats to the very peace and freedom that affords such a moment. Later that night I went home and looked up how to write to soldiers. I found that as long as I knew a general area (operational address) I could send letters any time of year and that a Canadian soldier that does not receive mail would be given the letter. I have sent letters since then, and until every single member of our Armed Forces is home I will continue.
I still send letters throughout the year, because I don’t just remember when the red poppies start to appear. I remember every day I am blessed with the freedom to raise my children the way I see fit. I remember every day that I can walk down the street without fear of enemy forces invading our land, and the ensuing horrors that would be wrought. I remember every single day. As we all should. No, as we all NEED to.