Lest we forget

On Oct. 12, a group of Squamish residents gathered in a clearing in the forest of the Cheekye Fan to rededicate the patch of forest in the name of the first Squamish resident to perish in the Second World War.

As a youth, John Askey Quick had been one of the leaders of a group of students and others who had planted 20,000 trees in the area. When trouble in Europe boiled over, Quick became a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and on Aug. 6, 1941, he perished. Shortly after his death, the forest was rededicated to honour both his contribution to the project and -first and foremost, of course - his great sacrifice.

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The stories of Quick and many others - who served, put themselves in harm's way and in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice - should be etched into the memories of each and every one of as we mark Remembrance Day 2012 this Sunday (Nov. 11). While there will no doubt be many readings of Lt. Col. John McCrae's wonderful "In Flanders Fields" on Sunday, Stan and Rose Penner of Landmark, Man., remind us in this week's Letters to the Editor that McCrae's isn't the only great Canadian poem marking this solemn occasion. Nicolas Peters' "The Wars We Make" is certainly worthy of praise as well.

Undoubtedly, this Sunday will also include bugle calls, honour guards, wreath-layings, pipe bands, two minutes of silence and all the other traditions we have come to associate with the occasion. And that's as it should be. Those whose struggles helped to win our freedom, both long ago and more recently, deserve our everlasting gratitude.

They deserve more than just our thanks, though. In late September, The Chief reported that the Royal Canadian Legion Diamond Head Branch 277, like many Legions across Canada, is facing dire financial straits, at least partly due to declining support. Those who head up the local branch count around 200 members, but only about 30 of those were active in the organization at last check.

Like our beloved veterans, the Legion plays a vital role in the community and deserves our support - through support for its many fundraising initiatives, through participation in activities and events at the local branch and through the participation of its members. To many of us, it probably seems that it has always been there - but it won't remain that way for long, if we take it for granted.

- David Burke

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