Each year we close on Remembrance Day out of respect for those who served and continue to serve this great country of ours-it is the least we can do. In The act of remembering, the mind is truly fascinating. Especially as it relates to the ability to remember and to forget. The human mind is naturally inclined to forget. There are numerous factors that influence our memory such as: aging, health, the nature of an event, transience, etc. We forget. When memories are diminished and fade into the background, the tendency is for the details and the events to become less significant. We forget.
In Canada, on November 11, we reflect on those who served their country through the Great Wars, Korean War, Afghanistan and Iraq and in the many peace-keeping missions. We pay homage to those who continue to serve.
It’s estimated that every three minutes a memory of World War II disappears with the passing of a veteran.
For those men and women who lost their lives so that we may experience freedom.
For the families of those who serve and the families who have lost loved ones in service to their country.
Several years ago, business took me to The Netherlands. While there, my husband and I took the opportunity to see the country and boarded a train to visit the village of Holten. This trip was important for my husband and his family. His Uncle Jimmy fought in World War II and was killed shortly before the end of the war. This young man from Cape Breton, like so many other enlisted young men and women, died far from his homeland and was laid to rest on foreign soil. There were no family present to say farewell. The trip to Holten was a significantly emotional one for my husband. He would be the first family member to visit Jimmy's grave. The Holten Canadian War Cemetery is the resting place to over 1300 Canadian soldiers. I researched the site in preparation for this journey.
Research does not prepare you for the impact of seeing so many beautifully kept graves of fallen soldiers. Research does not prepare you for emotional impact upon realizing how young many of these soldiers were or how many of them came from small communities.
I began to walk between the rows of graves, stopping to read each headstone. It became apparent we could not leave, did not want to leave until we had stopped at each grave and acknowledged the sacrifice of the solider who was laid to rest there.