Monday is Remembrance Day, during which we pause to reflect on and honour the more than 2,300,000 Canadians who have served in the military throughout our nation’s history.
Nearly 120,000 of those Canadians never had the chance to return home. They made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our country, our values and our way of life.
And for those who did return, many bore lifelong scars – physical, mental and emotional.
We owe them respect and gratitude. With courage and determination, they fought to protect the rights and the freedoms of their friends, their families, and their communities.
In many of those wars in which they fought, our service men and women were risking everything in the battle against fascism and totalitarianism.
To truly honour them, we must acknowledge what even a few years ago seemed unthinkable: that the dark clouds of fascism and totalitarianism would again cast their shadows over our freedoms and our rights.
To the south of us and even here in Canada, we are seeing an alarming rise of leaders who dare to openly stir hate, urging us towards violence. We must stand strong for tolerance and peace.
Let’s also remember what our veterans have fought for and won here in Canada.
After the two World Wars and the Korea War, they came back home and demanded dignity and decency for all. They’d seen first-hand just how many of our resources could be poured into devastation and destruction, and demanded that we pour resources instead into imagination and creation.
Our war veterans were a huge part of the fight for good jobs and working conditions, paving the way for unions as we know them now. They were also a driving force behind some of our most important public services, from education to health care to pensions.
Together, we remember. Together, we must ensure their battles were not in vain.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer