EDITORIAL: Remember how close war is, Squamish

Every year many of us don a poppy and turn out to a Remembrance Day ceremony and walk away feeling like we did our good deed.

For those of us who haven’t felt the weight of war on our shoulders, these actions have become much like visiting distant relatives  — a break in our routine that makes us feel we are decent people.

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But before the day is out, we head back on a hike or get lost in thoughts about work, school and the like.

This year, let’s stop and think about not only those who served — and we definitely must pause to do that — but also about war itself. About conflict and how close it actually is to us.

Twenty-three birch trees commemorating the local men of the Legion’s Squamish Valley Honour Roll who did not return from overseas wars surround Squamish’s War Memorial Cenotaph plaza in Stan Clarke Park.

The War Memorial Cenotaph sits on what was once the farm of George Paddy, one of the original settlers in Squamish. He was with the 1st Canadian Pioneers engineering battalion, which set off for Europe from Montreal in May of 1915.

He didn’t return to Squamish.

And neither did scores of Squamish Nation youth with names familiar to us today — Lewis, Billy, Williams, Antone.

The late Diana Billy and Donna Billy were behind the Squamish Nation cairn at Totem Hall, where a commemoration is held for those youth each Nov. 11.

Some of our relatives are currently serving in the military. The Canadian Armed Forces has members deployed around the world including in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central and South America.

There are those in our community who fled war-torn Syria and now, as members of Squamish, watch news reports with a connection to the tension and conflict there unfamiliar to the lucky majority.

We are but a birthplace away from modern warfare.

At least 24 significant wars are being waged around the world as you read
this editorial.

Instead of only reflecting during the moment of silence on Nov. 11, lets commit to stopping to reflect each day we don the poppy.

Lest we forget.

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief

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