November 11th is about remembrance, and the act of remembering, and the importance of memory. On November 11th, we remember the men and women from our community, our region and our country who have served our nation in times of peace, and in times of war, and we also recognize the loved ones of those who have served or are serving.
Reflection is a significant and important aspect of Remembrance Day, and this year marks an important milestone to reflect upon. 100 years ago on this day at 11 am the guns fell silent in recognition of the signing of the armistice that would lead to the end of World War I. It marked a victory for the allies, and a defeat for the Germans. It was a result achieved through the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers, who had an outsized impact on the Great War.
For a nation of eight million people Canada’s war effort was remarkable. Over 650,000 Canadian men and women served in uniform, with over 172,000 wounded and more than 66,000 lives lost. Nearly one of every ten Canadians who fought in the war did not return.
As the great conflicts of the past recede into history, the importance of memory becomes all the more important. With each passing year, there are fewer veterans left from whom we can draw on first-hand for recollections of past wars and their horrors.
I want to encourage all members of our community to ensure these memories are not forgotten. It is up to us to carry forward the past, its stories and its lessons. It is up to us to preserve these memories.
Let us reflect, and choose to renew our commitments—as individuals, as a community, and as a society. Let us commit again to ending war and to seeing peace on earth for all its peoples. Let us commit again to using the freedoms and privileges afforded to us as Canadians to help build a better world. Let us commit again to keeping this day—Remembrance Day—a sacred one, and in doing so, let this be our pledge: we will remember.