My Maternal Grandfather was 21 when he left for WWII. He had just married my Grandmother in 1942. His first ship he was stationed on the HMCS Achates, it sunk off the coast of England after only 10 days after he began his service. He was put on the HMCS Haida. The the Fightingest Ship in the Canadian Navy. He worked in the boiler room. I remember my mother telling me that he used to have nightmares about his experience. As he got older he shared his stories with me. He was so proud of his time on the service. Every November 11th, he would honor his fallen shipmates at the cenotaph. A tradition that was instilled in myself. I was fortunate to visit the HMCS Haida when she was moored in Lake Ontario. It was an honor to be where my Grandfather had once so bravely fought during Operation Overlord. I remember being overwhelmed with emotion that day. As this was part of me. This was part of my family's history.
As I sit here and write this, military service is still alive with this family. With my husband currently serving and deployed, we will never forget those who have served before us. Veterans regardless with what ever conflict should have our love and respect. Political,religious and civil differences aside, these men and women deserve the upmost respect. They volunteered their lives to fight for freedom. Remembrance shouldn't be limited to just one day. We must continue to learn about the wars of past. We must listen to those who share their stories. Many of our WWI and WWII Vets are dying. Many of our Vets are facing poverty and illness due to the ignorance of others.
I would like to say thank you. Thank you to you,our Veterans. You are so valuable to what makes us who we are. You have helped shaped the course of history while paying the ultimate sacrifice. You came home from war, broken and in need of love and support. We as a nation need to make sure you are taken care of. Thank you to the families that quietly served at home. Without you, there would be no one to love and support our retuning Veterans. Your sacrifice doesn't go unnoticed. I thank those who have come before me.
In the end, thank a Vet. Not just on Remembrance Day or Veterans' Day, but everyday. They are the most deserving people of your gratitude and love. On November 11th, we honor those who didn't come home. We put their spirit in our hearts and never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Lest we forget.