On November 11, we will pause to remember…
|Bedford cenotaph, Nova Scotia|
As a child growing up in the 1960’ and 70’s, my recollections of Remembrance Day observances are mostly from school. We were encouraged to remember the brave men and women who fought for our freedom in the first and second World Wars. I don’t recall hearing much about the Korean War at that time. We recited “In Flanders Fields”, coloured pictures of poppies and crosses which were then displayed on the classroom walls, observed a minute of silence, sang “Oh Canada” and “God Save the Queen”. Some attended memorial services at a local cenotaph honouring those who had sacrificed their lives in wartime. Although I had an uncle who served in the navy during World War II, and my father was sent to Canada as a boy to escape the bombing raids in England, I feel I was largely sheltered from the horrors and reality of war. Europe, Japan, Korea, Vietnam – they all seemed a world away, distant and detached from me. Many people who had experienced those wars seemed hesitant to discuss it and many wanted to put it behind them and make life and the world better for their children. It is only as I grow older that I’ve become more aware of what these wars have cost not only to the soldiers who fought them, but to their families and the innocent victims who lived through them.
As my son grew up in the 1990’s and into the new millennium, our world had dramatically changed. No longer was war something only our parents and grandparents had experienced. Now we could watch it live on television, as it actually was unfolding, and eventually on the internet. Our children’s schoolmates had fathers, uncles, and family friends being deployed to the former Yugoslavia, the Gulf Wars, and Afghanistan. To date, 158 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan alone, 12 from my home province of Nova Scotia. I am extremely grateful for the dedication of our soldiers who defend not only our rights and freedoms, but fight for the liberation of citizens in other countries as well.
|Memorial Bell Tower, Halifax|
Living in a military city for the past thirty years has given me a much deeper appreciation for the cost of fighting for and maintaining our freedoms. It’s a common occurrence to see armed forces personnel in their navy or army uniforms as we shop at the grocery store, walk down a street, or pick up our children at school. Several of our friends are presently, or have been, employed by our Department of National Defense. We can drive along our beautiful harbour and view navy ships in port, observe military helicopters and frigates performing maneuvers in the Bedford Basin, or visit the Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower which commemorates the December 6, 1917 collision of two ships, one carrying munitions, which resulted in the destruction of much of the city and killed about 2000 people and injured 9000 others.
We must remember…we will not forget…
|Point Pleasant Park, Halifax|
As a believer and follower of Christ, I also am ever mindful of the war we constantly fight with the Enemy in the spiritual world, Satan himself. It is ever present, very real and personal, and he is relentlessly striving to sway our allegiance from our Commander and the King of kings, Jesus Christ. This is one war, however, whose outcome is already determined. We can rest secure that through Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection three days later, God has already won the victory. One day our enemy will be defeated forever. I am eternally grateful for the freedom from sin’s penalty that Christ’s sacrifice won for me!
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Psalm 103:2
I will not forget!
Until next Sunday,