Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day '09

My darling daughter Diana and I attended the Remembrance Day ceremonies today in Brampton. I love the innocent and simple questions a ten-year-old can ask: "Daddy, are those swords sharp?" or "Who are the men dressed like cowboys?" [Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their scarlet tunics and broad-brimmed hats] Even questions that coming from an adult could be considered more "loaded" seem (and are) completely innocent and devoid of any hidden agenda:"Why don't the speakers talk about all the Jewish people the Nazis killed in the war?" Now to put that last question into context, she's currently reading The Diary of Anne Frank so it was, I'm sure, a totally logical connection for her.

The ceremonies were blessed by a large turnout and gorgeous weather, the sun shining down on a reverent crowd and highlighting the cenotaph. All the regulars were there (local reserve regiment, veterans, army cadets, police, fire department, etc.) and all the normal things were spoken at the podium. One of the highlights for me was the playing and singing of God Save the Queen near the end of the ceremony. I am an unabashed royalist (regardless of whether I can explain or justify it) and this is one of the things that I believe clearly distinguishes us from our good friends south of the border. Music at this type of gathering can have an enormous effect on people: the lone trumpet playing Last Post, notes ringing off of the surrounding buildings, and the mournful strains of the pipes reaching through the crisp autumn air.

I am always enormously grateful for all that our men and women in uniform have done and continue to do for us, allowing us to live our daily lives in relative peace and security. A tip of my hat to you all...

They shall grow not old

As we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them,

Nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun

And in the morning,

We will remember them.

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