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Tuesday, November 11th is Remembrance Day. A day to remember the pride and sorrow of those men and women that gave their lives in two great wars that we the living may have peace and freedom.

In every city and hamlet of our great country we stand in silence at the cenotaph. Is it too much to ask that we give thanks? A moment in our busy lives to reflect on the past sometimes seems like an eternity.

Remembrance of the sorrow that excessive wars has cost us and the world of free men. Now think about it, only two minutes. But there is enough time for each of us to find a new resolve in his or her own way to say a prayer for peace. A peace justly forged by mankind and nations of good will to strive for a better world. To-day we pause to remember those who gave up their lives.

November 11. 1918 was the end of World War One, which had raged on for four long years. Canada a relative small country of seven million citizens suffered the loss of 68,000 soldiers who died serving their country. To-day many years later we are honouring the fallen not of one war but two horrible conflicts,

The victorious Allies rejoiced in the thought that they had beaten the enemy but had banished war for all time. The frightful slaughter of the Great War, they thought had shown that modern warfare was too horrible, too costly in lives and resources to be repeated.

People of the world they hoped would gladly join under the umbrella of the League of Nations to build a barrier against future outbreaks. Twenty years later in 1939 was the start of World War Two where more then sixty million people were killed over a six year period ending in the defeat of Germany and Japan.

Since the end of the Second World War we have born witness to conflicts in Yugoslavia, Korea, Vietnam, Middle East, and Afghanistan.

Retired General Dallaire reminds us to take into account the number of physically/emotionally stressed wounded who came home from Afghanistan.. He suggests that down the road we may have a two for one ratio of returning soldiers who commit suicide. Post Traumatic Stress disorders can affect soldiers for many years.

In the twelve years that Canadians fought in Afghanistan 158 Armed Forces members were killed. According to records from the Department of National Defence, there were 178 full time Canadian soldiers who committed suicide. Sadly, many suicides occur after the soldiers have left the Armed Forces and those numbers aren’t included in the totals.

At each and every ramp ceremony the politicians and commanding officers speak of the wonderful attributes of the fallen soldier promising that he/she will never be forgotten. The families/friends will remember but for most Canadians the names/faces/memories of the soldiers will too soon fade along with yesterday’s headlines.

The poem In Flanders Fields by John McCrae reminds us: "The torch: be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die. We shall not sleep, though poppies grow in Flanders Fields". I am afraid that our dead veterans weep that mankind has not found the formula to bring forth peace.

The prayer of peace seems appropriate:

"May we see the day that war and bloodshed cease, when a great peace will embrace the whole world.

Then nation will not threaten nation, and mankind will not know war, For all who live on earth shall realize we have not come into being to hate or destroy."

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com