A grim and selfless act that must never be forgotten
Winnipeg - Saturday, November 9, 2013
by:Timothy W. Shire

There was a very light rain falling as I squinted to get the best angle of the World War II Sherman tank that once served with the Fort Gary Horse armoured division, sitting in front of the Royal Canadian Legion 100 of Charleswood. Two veterans were carefully loading crosses into the back of a pickup and wreathes into another, in preparations for ceremonies on Monday.

Once again Canadians will pay their respects to those who served on our behalf in both World War I and World War II, then in Korea, peace keeping missions and the endless conflict in Afghanistan. The whole idea of risking everything for your country and its people seems pretty grand when you say the words, but the reality was that then and now, the prospects for each volunteer was extremely grim.

For every one killed, hundreds more were injured and maimed, while almost all of the survivors carry with them the burden of what they have gone through. It is so important to realise that it was not just the combat people carry weapons, or going into battle in primitive rigs like that fragile tank, or aircraft, but behind each fighter, were dozens of support people who were often casualties as war raged around them.

The consequences of what they did, so often seemed to be clouded in the mist of reality, as battles were won, lives lost and at some point, the conflict brought to a ghastly end. It is for us to turn these horrifying losses into a positive result. We must not let anyone squander the hard earned freedom for which people fought, died and were wounded. That is our duty to full fill their ultimate intentions, to make our lives better and so we must remember them and stand up for the bonus given to us by what they did.