Remembering the future
FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The picture you see above was taken at 5:00 PM Tuesday afternoon after the snow had begun to fall but before the heavy snow that came down all night and throughout Wednesday. At the centre of the image is the cenotaph where tomorrow, members of the community will assemble and solemnly and respectfully place wreaths around this monument that commemorates those citizens of Tisdale and surrounding communities who died during
World War I and World War II.

The emotions that rise with the annual event are conflicting ones and that is not just for we who are members of this society, but it is also the case for the few World War II veterans who are still alive. There is regret, sadness and a whole catalogue of other feelings. Pride, anger, condemnation of violence and the glorification of heroism, all of these things make November 11th a confusing thing to experience and to understand.

I think that it is fitting that the Tisdale’s cenotaph shares this park with a children’s playground. All of those mixed feeling that churn up as we both remember and commemorate the tragic lose of those who once made this their home and then went off to war never to return, are somehow simplified when you realise the past is important. It shaped the future, but nothing now can be done about what happened, other then make sure we don’t forget. However, when we consider the future, the time when those children who often play in this park and will play in it in the future, they and their lives are really and truly what matters.
Here in 2010 all of those who served in World War I have joined their comrades with whom they served and the soldiers, sailors and airmen of World War II are all in their late eighties and older. Within a decade they too, will have passed into history. Those of the conflicts since the two great wars are still with us and the war in Afghanistan is adding more lives to the death toll of Canadians who have been lost in service to their country. But we in our act of remembrance as we turn our attention from the present to the past, immediately become aware that it is in the years to come, that all of this and what has been done, really matters.

Being aware of the future is what it is to be alive. The future is unknown and a magical mystery which will continue to challenge us and our progeny, as we all assume that time itself stretches infinitely beyond our imagination. We who are over thirty know, that life and what it holds for us, is an ongoing function of optimism and hope. If that is the way it is for us, so then surely that is what it was for those who died in the service of their country.

Accepting the challenge of serving your country, with the distinct possibility of this being a mortal experience, each and every person who did so, must have been keenly aware of a future that will come with absolute certainty, while they bore the realisation, that they might have no opportunity to share in that future. That is what makes us understand the profound importance of these people, those who died and those who had the most important part of their lives taken from them, to make some mark, affect in their own small or big way, the shape of that future.