by Liz Jansen
Today I will remember. I will pause from my writing and walk to the town cenotaph to honor and pay my respects to the men and women who have served in the military to protect the rights and freedoms I enjoy today.
Although the ceremony will focus on the Canadian Military, my gratitude extends beyond them to service people from all countries who have collaborated to defeat forces who would see those freedoms taken away.
My ancestors lived in a land of privilege, until they didn’t. They knew what it was like to have peace and freedom stripped away, replaced by tyranny, anarchy, and terror. They were fortunate to be accepted into a country where they could resume their lives in a land of opportunity and prosperity. The concept of privilege changed, to simply being free. No matter how poor they were, how insurmountable the hardships seemed, or how little they had materially, they were grateful. Every day my grandfather gave thanks for his freedom.
So I will remember and reflect. It begins with me, but I am not alone.
Freedom is fragile. Keeping it healthy requires nurturing, vigilance, and action. And courage. It takes far less effort to maintain our rights and freedoms than it awould to regain them if they’re lost. I can do my part by celebrating diversity, being tolerant, inclusive, kind, respectful of the opinions of others, even if they’re polar opposites to mine, standing up when the rights of others are threatened, reaching out to others in need, and staying grounded, centered, and focused in the maelstrom of chaos.
That’s the greatest honor I can show for those who have sacrificed so much.