My dad served with the British army in World War II, as a tank gunner. He joined at age 18 at the start of the war in 1939 and left 6 years later at the end of the war. He had lots of stories to tell of his escapades, and talked about the war as being 99% boring and 1% terror. Most of his stories revolved around drinking and the mischief he and his buddies managed to get into. Occasionally he would talk about more serious things. He had a picture of himself with six buddies, and he was the only one who survived the war. My dad certainly remembered!
My Uncle Davy served in the Royal Navy during the war and his ship was sunk in the Java Sea, after which he was held in a Japanese prison of war camp. He barely survived his ordeal, spent 6 months recuperating in Australia and developed a taste for alcohol that never left him. He died very young from the affects of alcoholism. I can assure you that he never forgot.
I spent seven years in the Royal Navy, joined at age sixteen and never saw action. Not long after I left the Falklands War happened and one of my ex-shipmates was among those killed.
I think anyone who has ever served in the military will take time to think about those who have lost their lives serving their country. It just seems to be the right thing to do.
Over the years we read about the young men who have lost their lives … in Afghanistan or Iraq, not that long ago it was Northern Ireland and Vietnam. I see their pictures in the paper and I think about their sacrifice and how their deaths must have caused such grief to their families.
Those of us lucky enough to live in Canada owe a debt of gratitude to those who ensured our way of life has been preserved, and to those who strive to make our World a better place today.
To the young men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives who have paid the ultimate sacrifice today is a day when we formally remember your sacrifice. Anyone who has been close to these people don’t need a special day … they will always remember.