On the 11th day ... of the 11th month ... at the 11th hour ... we pause to pay tribute to those who have fallen ... in the name of freedom.
Remembrance Day ... I've always considered it a form of respect ... to those countless young lives that perished during wars that happened so long ago ... but the truth is ... there are still lives being lost in current conflicts and while the numbers are significantly less ... they are no less painful for their families to endure.
We have always paused at the appropriate time ... at the store ... to give that minute of silence. It's a small thing ... but traditional. Today I was not there at that time, but in my car ... after dropping Mel off at school. I sat listening to "In Flanders Fields" being recited on the radio ... then paused for the minute of silence and thought of those who were there. I cannot fathom the horror of what they must have gone through.
This year though ... there was something new added.
A new song.
I live very close to Highway 401. Some of you may know ... but for those who don't ... it is also known as the Highway of Heroes. Every deceased Canadian soldier who comes home from the Afghanistan conflict takes their last ride in a funeral procession with their family along this highway before being sent to their city or town for burial.
It has become quite a grassroots phenomenon ... just ordinary citizens ... gather on the overpasses to pay their last respects to another fallen soldier. It is never organized ... but has become somewhat ritualistic ... and therein lies the awesome nature of the event. Total strangers honour the young lives cut short by the perils of war ... and the selfless duty that sent them to harm's way.
It is a simple show of support to the families who have lost a loved one ... and it really means a lot to them.
It has become so memorable ... that a group recently got together to commemorate it in song.
Highway of Heroes ...it's called... so fitting. I cried when I heard it.
I thought it was so perfect ... and a glaring reminder that it wasn't just the heroes of the old wars that we remember ... but the ones of today who are still out there now ... perishing to help keep peace alive.
We have always (since I've been at the store) put out boxes of poppies at the cashes for the Royal Canadian Legion. We never have to ask ... people simply take one and drop in their donation. Tradition.
I was quite dismayed this year to hear that some places actually declined to have Legion staff on site to distribute them. To me that is just disrespectful. They should be ashamed!
I've always thought it odd too that some actually have this as a statutory holiday ... while most of us don't. How things change over the years. It should be a solumb day ... not just a solumb moment.
We were incredibly busy today ... as all those people who did have the day off ... decided to go shopping after the memorial services.
Life goes on ... in freeedom.
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