Maya Angelou wrote – “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada. At cenotaphs and memorials across the nation people will gather to remember those who fought for freedom in past conflicts. It is a day when we give thanks for freedom and for the strength of our nation. In recent years there has been an increased interest in this National day of remembering. Since Canada joined the war in Afghanistan in 2002 we have suffered 152 military casualties. It is perhaps the sight of repatriation ceremonies of the men and women who have died in Afghanistan that have raised our level on consciousness of this day. People have lined the ‘Highway of Heroes’ from Trento to Toronto as these heroes and she-roes have been brought home.

People line a bridge in Whitby on the Highway of Heroes in Ontario

The sentiment that is expressed on occasions like Remembrance Day is a genuine sense of thankfulness for the sacrifice that the men and women of our military make when they go into harms way. In WWII over 45 000 Canadians died at war. In WWI over 65 000 Canadians were killed as well as over 1200 soldiers and sailors from the Dominion of Newfoundland. These numbers reflect the death toll of war, but thousands more were injured physically, and emotionally and many never recovered. With those thoughts in mind we approach November 11.

War is a sad reflection of how humanity has failed. That we even have to remember is a sad admission that we have not yet understood God’s call to be a people who embrace and embody peace.  We long for the day when the prophesy of Isaiah is realized to be true. We pray for a day when we will understand that “God will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

In the meantime we have to remember those whose lives were lost or changed forever. We also must remember the countless number of civilians that have died in the midst of offensives. We should also remember the victims of genocides and ethnic cleansings around the world. On November 11 we remember and at the same time we pray for change. We have to encourage peace in our lives, our homes, our communities and in our world in order that the pain of yesterday and today need not be multiplied and reproduced as the pain of tomorrow. It is not just good that we remember. It is imperative that we remember. We hold up the fallen and we pray for the courage to seek diplomatic ways to respond to the problems in our world.

As we continue to read about war and violence in this world, let us move into this time of remembrance reflecting peace. Jesus declared to us that he brings us to a place of peace – “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) There are so many voices today telling us to be afraid. Jesus is imploring us to be afraid. Let us not be swayed by voices of fear. Instead, with voices united, let us sing of love instead of fear. We owe it to those who paid with their lives to sing that song of peace and love as we remember the hurts of the past.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

You can view a neat video that calls us to remember at

http://www.remembernovember11th.com/video/

There will be a ceremony on Nov 11 at 10:50 am at Beachgrove, to which we have been invited to attend. Plan on joining us if you can.