Whether or not you agree with Canadian troops being in Afghanistan, I'm sure you must agree that the sacrifices the troops and their families are making to do what they think is right are incredible. There's a photo in the slideshow (linked above) of a man who's meeting his daughter for the first time. I got a little teary just thinking about it!
On Remembrance Day, Dad and I went to the service at the Museum of the Regiments. Jim Prentice, an MP and cabinet minister, spoke and if you're interested, you can read his speech here... http://www.jimprentice.ca/EN/community_news/remembrance_day_speech_2009/
It was really good. The thing that stuck out the most for me was that at the battle he spoke of, "More than 27,000 Canadians joined the battle in Sicily and 562 Canadians died and 1,664 were wounded."
There were about 9,000 people at the service, which is their highest attendance to date, and I've been going there for about 8 years now. But only 9,000 out of a million people in Calgary. Fewer people then were wounded in this ONE battle during the Second World War.
It makes me sad that people have such a hard time taking a couple of hours, one day a year, to remember the sacrifices that others have made so that we can live in freedom, and not just us in Canada, because it probably would have taken Hitler a bit longer to get control of North America, but overseas as well. To sacrifice your own life for a nation of people you've never met - that deserves to be remembered.
My boss was in Europe this fall, and she went to one of the concentration camps, and told me about some of the stuff she learned, a lot of which I already knew from all my reading on the subject (I went through a few years as a young teenager where I read every book in the library on the topic) - but they were things that I was surprised to find aren't common knowledge for a lot of people. What do they teach in schools these days?
Did you know that Hitler didn't just have it in for Jews, he had it in for everybody who didn't toe his party line - Christians, people without white skin, transient people like Gypsies, homosexuals, handicapped people and elderly (who he had forcibly sterilized and/or imprisoned and/or 'put out of their misery')? The list goes on. There are suggestions that he wanted to set himself up as a god, and may have believe that he was the reincarnation of Woden, the god of war (who was worshiped by human sacrifice).
The man was a nutter, and without a whole generation of people who were willing to fight him, we could be suffering under severe lack of freedom in Canada. It seems like many people have no idea how good we have it, compared to how oppressed people were under Nazi rule. The scary thing is, the more we forget, the more likely it is that the warning signs of another Hitler rising will be ignored, and the more likely it is that history will repeat itself.