This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
A century ago, the hostility stopped after an armistice agreement was signed between Germany and the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiegne, France.
During battle, our troops witnessed the emergence of military aviation, which altered combat forever. Nearly 61,000 Canadian soldiers were killed and 154,000 were injured.
For many of us, war is seen through videos taken in distant countries, reading the accounts of soldiers or by looking at wartime memorabilia. War can seem far removed from our daily lives and we can take for granted our Canadian values and institutions. But it’s as important now as it ever has been to remember their fight for our freedom.
On Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., Squamish residents will gather around the cenotaph to reflect on the sacrifice of our nation’s service in this and other wars, including the Second World War, the Korean War and other conflicts since then involving the Canadian Armed Forces.
It’s at this time – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – that the Canadian flag is lowered and we remember all those who fought for Canada during the two-minute silence.
There is usually a great showing at the local Remembrance Day ceremony, with people of all ages honouring our veterans. In 2016, the ceremony was moved back outside to the cenotaph, where it was originally, after the crowd became too big for Brennan Park. In previous years, the service was held at the high school, but it out grew that space as well.
It’s important for us to keep this tradition going strong, especially as the number of veterans at Canadian services who served in the Second World War and Korean War continues to decline and, as reported in other communities, fewer young veterans are joining in the ceremony.
At the dedication of Ottawa’s National War Memorial in 1939, King George VI said, “Without freedom there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom.”
More than 100,000 Canadian soldiers have died in war. More than 200,000 have been injured.
Those who went off to war fought for our belief in freedom, and it is up to us to remember this and to keep their dream of peace alive.