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Remembrance Day: Lest We Forget

By Christian Kassis

On the 11th of November, during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour, we give our thoughts during a moment of silence to those who have sacrificed their lives or put themselves in harms way for our continued safety and freedom.

Remembrance Day this year marks 101 years following the end of the First World War- one of the most destructive conflicts in human history.

Throughout the last century, our soldiers have given their lives for the sake of our freedom and for the freedom of others in many conflicts, from the aforementioned First World War, to the Second World War against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, to the Korean War which defended the South Korean people from an oppressive regime. Even conflicts which we see as disastrous in hindsight, such as the bloody and destructive Vietnam War, to the brutal and fruitless war in Afghanistan, to the nightmare which still haunts the region today that is Iraq and the other Middle Eastern conflicts. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians lost their lives in all these conflicts, and though the result may not have always been to the benefit of the world, they fought bravely to uphold the ideals that we take for granted every day: freedom of thought, religion, and speech, and the ability to live a life free from tyranny and oppression.

As my father was growing up in his homeland, the Canadian peacekeeping forces came to be idolized for their vital role in creating the peace between the opposing Egyptian and British, French and Israeli forces. This interference for the pursuit of peace is one that defined many nations’ outlook on Canada- giving our country a reputation of dignity and peace.

I would like to extend our appreciation to those who risk their lives for the safety of our communities: our firefighters, our police, our doctors and paramedics, all risk their lives each and every day for our continued safety, so we can rest assured that ourselves and our loved ones are at minimal risk from violence, health emergencies and other disasters. I would like to pay particular attention to the Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo, a soldier on ceremonial duty who lost his life during the parliament shooting of 2014. The symbolism of this incident cannot be overlooked; a young 24-year-old man with a bright future ahead of him selflessly gave his life defending the symbol of our democracy: the parliament building on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

This Remembrance Day, let us remember all those who gave their lives for our continued freedom, and all those who continue to risk their lives serving our communities each and every day.

Lest We Forget.

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