As we gather under the late fall skies to somberly fulfill our sacred duty to remember those whose gift of the ultimate sacrifice ensured our freedoms would be maintained for generations to come, it behooves us to continue to hold the torch of Liberty high.
The crowds gathered at the cenotaphs across Manitoulin on November 11 will be much sparser this year, thanks to the restrictions of the ongoing pandemic. But even if the pandemic were not casting its ghastly pall upon Remembrance Day 2020, there would be many familiar faces missing from the ranks—faces of those who returned home to their families from their service and whose promise of Remembrance each year was uttered with a special fervour.
Almost all of those hardy folk who served their country in World War II have now passed on to join the ranks of their comrades who fell in fields afar. Certainly all of those who answered their nation’s call to serve in the War to End All Wars over a century past have long since passed from our eyes, if not from our ken. But we have pledged countless times that “we will remember them.”
The torch of Liberty may have passed from age-enfeebled hands, entrusted to the vital grasp of new and younger generations, but the commitment to hold back the darkness remains—and the gathering clouds of fascism and tyranny are not so far distant from our shores.
The willingness of some Canadians to hold aloft the odious symbols of Nazism is nothing short of a rank betrayal, no less than a treason upon the sacred memory of those who fell so that we may live—a betrayal that besmirches the honour and memory of those who died to defend our nation from the practitioners of that fell philosophy. And make no mistake, those who would plunge the world once again into that madness are once again rising—we must stand ready to deny them any foothold in our hearts and minds.
This paper has always championed rapprochement and conciliation with ideas, beliefs and cultures that might appear strange and different than those of which we are familiar—seeking compromise and accommodation in the interests of peace, order and good government. But there comes a time and a place where a line must be drawn. Fascism and racism, in all its deceptive and odious forms remain a complete anathema to Canadian ideals and norms.
We may debate how our nation’s finances are apportioned and our collective treasure applied to further the nation’s weal. We may disagree on the level and nature of supports to be given to our nations’ most vulnerable (apostrophe placement deliberate), or whether religious strictures have any place within our legal systems and institutions, but violence, genocide, hatred, intolerance and oppression have no place within our borders.
Let it be said throughout the globe, the air of Canada is too pure to be sullied by the expression of such sentiments.
We owe no less to those who are no longer here to defend the ramparts of our freedom. The prayer of Remembrance cannot be allowed to fade into meaningless platitudes.
Lest we forget.