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THE LEN LESSER REPORT

 

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REMEMBRANCE DAY - A TIME TO SAY THANKS

Friday, November 11th, is Remembrance Day. A day to remember the pride and sorrow of those men and women who 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 is there 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 relatively 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 also had banished war for all time. The frightful slaughter of the Great War, they thought had shown us 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, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Retired Candian General Dallaire reminds us in his new book, "Waiting for first light" to take into account the number of physically/emotionally stressed wounded soldiers who came home from far off conflict. 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 our soldiers for many years after they have served their country.

In the twelve years that Canadians fought in Afghanistan 158 Armed Forces members were killed. According to the recent records from the Department of National Defence, there were at least 70 full time Canadian soldiers who committed suicide after serving in Afghanistan. Sadly, many suicides occur after the soldiers have left the Armed Forces and those numbers arenít 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 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 a lasting 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 again 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