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Remembrance is as essential as ever

Lest we forget.

These are three words that we hear every year around this time.

But perhaps now, more than ever, those words are starting to take on an even more crucial meaning.

This year’s Remembrance Day on Sunday, Nov. 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

The last living WW1 veteran was Florence Green, a British citizen who died at the age of 110 in 2012.

In Canada, the last documented man to serve his country in that war was John Babcock, who passed away at the age of 109 on Feb. 18, 2010.

As the years have passed, we witness fewer and fewer veterans at our Remembrance Day ceremonies.

According to numbers from Statistics Canada in March 2017, there were approximately 50,000 of the more than one million Canadian men and women who served in World War II who were still alive.

It is safe to assume that number has declined since then.

And while we will see several veterans proudly seated at Memorial Park on Sunday, there will sooner or later be a time when those who personally lived through these battles will be gone.

That is why it is so important that we continue to honour their efforts and keep the story of their sacrifice alive.

While Remembrance Day is now recognized as a federal statutory holiday, for some reason, it is not a provincial stat day. But that is a topic for another day.

With the occasion being on a weekend, hopefully more people will have a chance to attend the ceremonies in their community.

And whether you support military action or don’t, wear a red poppy, white poppy or choose not too wear one at all, that is not what matters at the end of the day. What matters is taking a moment, perhaps too brief for many of us, to recognize the sacrifice of those who chose to represent their country. Those who chose to leave their family and friends behind. Those who were fortunate enough to make it home, and those who weren’t.

Because they made the choice to stand up for the freedoms, we have been gifted in this country – our country, Canada.

And while it may not be perfect, if it wasn’t for the ones we remember this Sunday, it could be a lot different, and maybe a lot worse.

Lest we forget.