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Remember to avoid repeating history

Remembrance Day ceremonies will be held tomorrow (Sunday) in Elmira and Linwood, activities that prompt us to take heed of the sacrifices of war. Ideally, we’ll remember not to go down that road again.

Remembrance Day goes beyond recalling the valour of those who served – many of whom made the supreme sacrifice – in Canada’s wars. As well, the observance should make us think about the consequences and horrors of war, which are being waged at this very moment.

To be sure, Remembrance Day is indelibly linked to the great wars, those epic struggles that engulfed the planet in the last century – for those of us fortunate enough to have avoided that experience, looking back on those times is an eye-opening revelation: it’s difficult to imagine the scale, so much more encompassing than the likes of the occupation of Afghanistan, which take place on the periphery.

Under those circumstances, it’s important to reflect on the consequences of war – the very thing Remembrance Day embodies.

The increased awareness of military issues may, in fact, account for greater attendance at events, and higher poppy sales, reported across the country.

Some 628,000 Canadians took part in WWI. More than 10 per cent – 66,000 – never returned. In WWII, more than a million answered the call, and 45,000 paid the ultimate price.

The sad truth is there are fewer and fewer people around who can give us a firsthand account of life during wartime – it has been 64 years since the end of WWII, and 91 years since Armistice Day ended the war to end all wars.

That many of us have never experienced such horrors is a welcome relief, but it is then all the more important that we make the effort to remember.

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