This year, we won’t have the ability to observe Remembrance Day as our veterans deserve. Unfortunately, without the ability to host large gatherings due to COVID-19, the ceremony in Airdrie will be substantially smaller than usual. Instead of the community paying their respects at Genesis Place Recreation Centre, only a select group of attendees will be invited to gather at the cenotaph near the Town and Country Centre.
This saddens me greatly. There is a certain aura that truly demonstrates our gratitude when we gather, grieve and honour together. We absorb and relate better to the meaning of Remembrance Day when we surround ourselves with others who appreciate the sacrifices made by people most of us have never had the privilege to know.
I have imagined myself in the boots of the brave men and women who have sacrificed life and health for their country. I honestly don’t know if I could do what they’ve done. I don’t know how I would handle the horrors and fears they had to face so that we could enjoy the freedoms many of us take for granted. I have imagined being on the other side of the world, not being able to see the family I am trying to protect, not knowing how they are doing in my absence. I know that being away from home and never knowing if you’ll return is a sacrifice made by those who served and those who continue serving today.
For those reasons, it's important for each of us to go above and beyond to honour our veterans this year. Stay at home for the morning. Watch ceremonies on television. Observe a minute of silence at 11 a.m. If for some reason you are out and about, set an alarm on your phones to remind yourself to stop and reflect for that one minute. Give silent gratitude to all we have and all with which we are blessed.
Businesses that remain open Nov. 11 could announce over their intercoms that their staff are going to stop what they are doing at 11 a.m. to observe a minute of silence. Customers will hopefully understand and join in that minute of gratitude. Restaurants could do the same. It’s only a minute – one minute to thank those who have given so much.
Don’t forget to buy a poppy. It not only shows respect for those who served, but the money raised from poppy sales goes to help our local Legion and the veterans they support.
Have a good Remembrance Day, folks. May we all continue to enjoy the freedoms others sacrificed for. May we never forget.