Posted by: mindyourknitting | November 10, 2009

With Respect and Gratitude

This morning, the day before Remembrance Day, I opened the paper and saw this:

broken cenotaph

This picture broke my heart.  The caption for this photo reads: “Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 4 president Jean-Guy Perrault examines damage to the cenotaph in downtown Fredericton on Monday.”  This article from The Daily Gleaner explains that over the weekend someone who had to use considerable force pushed over the large cross attached to the side of the cenotaph, breaking it into several pieces.   This cenotaph was originally a First World War monument (plaques were later added to commemorate the Second World war, the Korean War, and the Canadian Merchant Navy Marine); it was dedicated on 11 November 1923 and is a provincial designated war memorial.  The damage was discovered when Mr. Perrault traveled to the site of the monument to check that all was ready for the scheduled Remembrance Day ceremonies.  The sentence that really gave me pause was when Mr. Perrault said “I thought people had more respect for the veterans than this.”  I wish I could say to him – we do.  We absolutely do.

I understand that most people haven’t spent hours and hours reading about military history, about Canada’s contribution to wars and peacekeeping, about the scores and scores of young men and women who have joined our military over decades and decades, knowing they could die in the course of their duties.  Yet I like to think that anyone who has any sense of decency will recognize selflessness and sacrifice, no matter what your opinion on our military and what they do in Canada and abroad.  I am curious to know if the vandals were motivated by political beliefs or just fueled by alcohol (or youth, or stupidity).  But, then again, does it really matter?  They did a disrespectful, enormously hurtful thing on the eve of the one day a year we are supposed – no, obligated –  to demonstrate our respect for our veterans and currently serving military.  They serve with honour, and we should recognize and be thankful for that.  Every day.  So to every member of the Canadian Forces, past and present, every Canadian soldier who was a member of an expeditionary force, or a peacekeeping operation, or anything in between, I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my grateful Canadian heart.


Amherst, Nova Scotia, November 2009


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