As we approach Remembrance Day, we find ourselves thinking about the brave men and women close to us that have served and continue to serve, protecting our democracy as well as the rights and freedoms we have the luxury of taking for granted day to day.
Like us, you’re probably already wearing the commemorative poppy that helps to represent and acknowledge the significant sacrifice made by those who have and do serve in our various armed forces. It’s the least we can do to show that we remember.
Why do we remember? Because we must. If we don’t, the sacrifice of the one hundred thousand plus Canadian lives was made in vain. They died for us. They died for their families and friends. They died for the traditions and values that we, as Canadians, cherish and hold so dear. They died for Canada.
It’s not unusual for many of us to take for granted our Canadian values and institutions; the freedoms we enjoy to participate in cultural and political events, our right to live under a government of our choice; and our ability to actively participate in our democracy.
Those men and women who left to far off lands to fight on our behalf went with the belief that those values enjoyed by Canadians were under threat. They fully believed that “Without freedom, there can be no ensuring peace and without peace no enduring freedom.”
To recognize – to remember – their sacrifice, year after year is to allow it to rest in our collective national conscience to ensure we understand how fortunate we are to be Canadian and to enjoy a present and future – the monument to what they gave.
Many of us know or have known, a veteran. Alita is no exception. Below, please enjoy her own personal story of a special veteran in her life for whom she is forever grateful for his generosity of service.
My love of history was inspired by my Dad (the most curious man I know) and a particular high school history teacher, Mr. Yeman, and his passion for understanding the significance of the past and how it can help us understand and make a better present and future.
I went on to get a BA in History at the University of Saskatchewan and am a firm believer that there is always something to be learned from the past that can help us in our present world. Growing up, I had the privilege to get to know and spend time with my Great Uncle Norman Hunter. A WWII Veteran, he bravely fought on the front lines in Africa, Italy, and other parts of Europe.
When he returned to Canada after the war only he and one other Comrade were left alive from their original platoon sent overseas. Uncle Norman would often share his stories with my father, Lyall, knowing it was appreciated and respected. Often Lyall would share these stories with his growing family and as I got older Uncle Norman shared his stories with me directly. He even agreed to be used as a first-hand reference in a university paper I wrote for a class in Canadian History.
Uncle Norman survived the rigours of war having left for war the day his son was born. He came home from the war to a three-year-old. As with so many other brave young men, years of father-son time was sacrificed as he fought for the freedom of every Canadian. Uncle Norman is now 100 years old and has retired to Osoyoos, BC close to his daughter and son-in-law.
I am so grateful he survived to share his story and so thankful that he sacrificed such a crucial part of his life as a man, husband, brother, son and father to fight for the freedom of those he loved as well as for those yet to come.