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L.A. Beat

Remember the veterans always

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While some people look at this weekend as a long weekend, with Remembrance Day happening on Monday,  it is a day that should be dedicated to remembering our veterans past and present.
 It is a day in which we should count our blessings and be thankful for the freedom to say and do pretty much whatever we want to without fatal consequences.
Remembrance Day is not a day to glorify war, but to think about the consequences and costs of war not so much in money, but more importantly in blood — in young lives lost way too soon. It's not just lives lost, but lives impacted and irrevocably changed by injuries and trauma resulting from the experience.

 My dad is a Second World War veteran, so while he, at 90-years old, still attends one of the many Remembrance Day services in Calgary, I always go to Lethbridge’s Remembrance Day Service at Exhibition Park first thing in the morning on Nov. 11. My dad doesn’t talk much about his experience as a gunner in a Lancaster Bomber during the war. He will sometimes recall the cramped conditions thousands of Canadian soldiers endured on the ship they took over to Europe, but he doesn’t mention his friends who died in the war or any wartime experiences. When we visit the cemetery back home he’ll mention he knows more people there than he does people still living. There are faded gravestones of veterans there — their names slowly being ground away by time and the elements, but they should not be forgotten.

 Remembrance Day is a day to remember the ever dwindling number of Second World War veterans , as I don’t think there are any First World War veterans still surviving, but also veterans of the First World War, the Korean War, peacekeepers and veterans of ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 While the First World War was supposed to be the war to end all wars, it obviously wasn’t and that bears some serious thought.
While we remember the veterans, it is also a day to reflect on our own lives and the consequences of our choices on our community, province and country — perhaps in the hopes that through our actions we can someday perhaps prevent war and instead strive towards peace so no more husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and best friends must die.

As always, the doors open to Exhibition Park South Pavillion ( 3401 Parkside Dr. S. Doors open) at 8:30 a.m. with the service beginning at 9:30.

There is always a parade of pipers, veterans, current soldiers and cadets followed by moving speeches, two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. followed by the salute.

 After the ceremony at  the Lethbridge Exhibition Park, there will be another ceremony at the cenotaph by city hall at noon.  RCAF #429 Squadron from Trenton, Ontario will be performing a fly pass in a C-17 Globemaster jet.

We shall remember them. We should remember them, not just on Remembrance Day, but every day.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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