Remember!

Chaplain’s Corner

Padre Zibby Jonczyk

As every year on the 11th of November thousands of Canadians will gather at cemeteries, around cenotaphs and war memorials to honour, pay tribute and to remember our war heroes and all those who served and continue serving our country.

This year will mark 101 years since the end of the First World War, which ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. As the years pass by, most of our Veterans age averages 96 and with fewer remaining it is ever more important for us to honour and pray; for those brave soldiers, sailors and aviators who sacrificed so much for their families, friends, country and for us. It is a time for us to show them our appreciation.

The former Canadian Armed Forces Chaplain General David Kettle
spoke of the Veterans and said: “What they lived through during times of great conflict, strife and wars are not just memories. The sounds of war, the horror of the battle, and echo in their minds are as real as if it was yesterday. They know the cries of suffering and pain and it’s
etched on their faces and in their tears to this day.”

Our Canadian soldiers, naval and air personnel risked their lives in the name of a better world so that the nightmare of war and death would end, and so that we would never experience what they have experienced. And for that we must be grateful and remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be made meaningless.

John Babcock, the last Canadian World War One veteran who died in 2009 at the age of 109 said: ‘I think it would be nice if all the different people in the world could get along together.’ So, to honour those who gave so much let us not only remember their sacrifices but let us pray for peace and try to get along together.

In a world torn by wars and conflicts I would like to invite you to make a promise to remember all who have been lost to wars and to give thanks for their valiant service in defence of our freedom and to demonstrate the value we place in those freedoms so selflessly forged. As Canadians we have freedom to think, to move, to speak, to worship, to be afforded the proper privileges of our legal system, to own and dispose of property, to raise a family and to educate our children.

Let us remember and honour those whose sacrifices ensured those freedoms.

zbigniew.jonczyk@forces.gc.ca