Remembrance of the wars past, isn’t just a one day of the year thing for some. For members of the Royal Canadian Legion, remembering the sacrifices that the men and women who have come before us is a daily event.
Al Hemingway, District 3 commander Saskatchewan Command, said that the now more than ever is a time for people to remember the brave sacrifices that the men and women of Canada made to make Canada the country it is today.
“These freedoms that we enjoy here in Canada, are not given rights. They were bought for and paid for with the sacrifices that were made by the people who use the legion, and those who lost their lives in wars past,” he said.
“In today’s day and age, they are being preserved by those in our military who serve in the conflicts and even those who have served us recently.”
The ever-changing landscape of war has made Canada a place where terrorism can been seen on our doorsteps, according to Hemingway.
“We were once able to see who the enemy was, and we knew who the friendlies were. But now in today’s society, these radicals are just a few extremists and we can never let down our guards and we must be very vigilant no matter where we are.”
Hemingway said that Canada is no longer immune to the attacks of terrorism that could start a war.
“We saw a few weeks ago, even in Canada, we have to keep this vigilance up.”
From a Legion’s perspective, Hemingway said that the meaning of Remembrance Day has become muddy, and the legion is there to help ensure that Canadians never forget the sacrifices that were made years ago.
“We can never forget the sacrifices that these people made, and who brought us the freedom. The freedoms that we see today are bought and paid for with the sacrifices of those who served our country first in World War 1, then again in World War 2, the Korean Conflict.”
Hemingway said that our freedoms that people take for granted, were once under attack.
“For a country like Canada that once was a settlement from the European continents, it was just thought as a colony for many, many years.”
The First World War was a defining moment in Canadian history, according to Hemingway.
“It spawned from the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Other countries found out that Canada was a nation. Our men were strong and free and independent.
“Our country’s beliefs of freedom and justice for all, really came to the forefront during the First World War, and we were then looked at as a standalone country, and no longer a colony.”
Hemingway said that until recently with the attack in Ottawa, most of the conflicts that Canada has seen have been in foreign countries.
“Wars are usually far away. We see video of the conflict on the newscasts, we see a few short articles in the newspapers or magazines, but it hasn’t really been brought home until recently within the last month.”
The attack in Ottawa has been a wake-up call for many if not all of Canada, Hemingway said.
“We have to have a force of national defence to protect the freedoms that we have earned, and stop those radical people from trying to come in and take them away from us,” he said.