Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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~ Al Jones ~
Next Tuesday is Remembrance Day, folks. It’s the day we remind ourselves of the sacrifices of others. It’s the day we teach our children about how it is that we can enjoy freedoms in this country, while other parts of the world still suffer in fear. It’s almost an annual routine for some of us. We acknowledge, but I’m not convinced we always fully appreciate.
Maybe it’s because the work that our modern day military does seems so far away. The horrors are almost sanitized by the time we are made aware of them. With the exception of a few news clips here and there, it seems almost nonexistent. And even the news clips themselves don’t show the full horrors that mankind is capable of committing against each other. This year is a little different though. This year we had a rude awakening.
On October 20th, two of our country’s finest were run down in a parking lot in Quebec. One of them, Warrant Officer, Patrice Vincent, never survived his injuries. We shook our heads in disbelief. The reports following the incident wake us up to the fact that war is not necessarily fought on foreign soil. Even a parking lot in Quebec can suddenly become the front line. Maybe not for any extended period of time, but enough to have us suffer losses. Some brushed it off as one lunatic. And even those of us who looked at it as an attack on our country, never truly gave it any more credibility than an unstable individual brainwashed into doing the evils of another.
Two days later, October 22nd, we are again shocked with the news of another attack on home soil. This time in Ottawa, our country’s capital. In this incident, a gunman cowardly runs up behind Corporal Nathan Cirillo as he stands guard over our war memorial. And despite the fact that the Corporal is unarmed, the coward shoots Corporal Cirillo in the back… killing him.
The gunman then rushed Parliament Hill, where the very leadership, governance and democracy of our country is dispatched from. He didn’t get to fulfil his mission, though, our men and women charged with defending our democracy, cornered him quickly and he was taken out by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, Kevin Vickers.
The next day, Parliament returned and sat in the House of Commons. I hadn’t tuned into question period in a long time. I can’t stand the slander and bickering back and forth between party leaders; makes me think of them as unruly kindergarteners, but that’s a rant for another day. On this day, there was no screaming between the party leaders. There was no animosity, no name calling, and no innuendos. There was only the shared feeling of loss. Not just the loss of Warrant Officer, Patrice Vincent, and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, but a loss of innocence. A loss of that sense of security. What happened next made me proud to live in this country.
Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, stepped out, walked across the floor and embraced NDP Leader of the official opposition, Thomas Mulcair. He then did the same with each of the leaders of the other political parties in the House of Commons. Those few moments displayed what being Canadian is about. No matter our differences. No matter our beliefs. We stand together and we defend each other’s differences.
This is what so many have sacrificed their lives for; the true personal freedoms of speech, religions and personal choices. No matter gender. No matter race. No matter age. The right to live as we choose.
Don’t look at this coming Tuesday as just a day off, folks. Take some time to truly reflect on what we have and how it is that we are blessed this way. If you have children, make sure they fully understand how lucky they are to be living in a country, so loved by others that they would give their lives to protect it. “Lest We Forget”
P.S. You’ll notice that I didn’t acknowledge the names of either the man who ran over Warrant Officer, Patrice Vincent, or the gunman who shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo. Simply put... evil deserves no acknowledgment.