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Remembrance Day

My grandfather, CPL Hugh Aikman RCAF on the left with an unnamed friend

Today, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians pause and observe two minutes of silence to pay tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in military service. We remember the fallen from the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, the Afghanistan conflict and in other peacekeeping missions around the world.

My grandfather was enlisted in the RCAF during World War II. Thankfully, for us, (he always regretted it) he never saw any battle time, but still he was never comfortable talking about the war. He would only say he made a lot of good friends and lost even more. End of conversation.

After my grandfather died, my dad was given a small collection of photos taken at the beginning of the war. In the faded photographs, my grandfather looks young and handsome and happy in his uniform. I think it’s because he looks so happy that I find the photos so sad. The smiling uniformed young man, who had only just married my grandmother, was going to see the world change. His friends were going to go overseas and he would be left behind. Many of them, possibly even some of the men in the photos, were going to die. It seems too terrible to even consider. I can’t even pretend to understand what it must have been like. I can count the people I’ve lost to tragedy on one finger. I’ve lived a privileged life and regardless of my politics or feelings about war in general, I know I have my grandfather and the men and women of his generation who sacrificed their lives to thank for many of the freedoms I enjoy.

And so, today I am going to think of my grandfather and his lost friends and of all the others from different wars and different times and I’m going to try to thank them by bringing them back to life in my thoughts. And not just for 2 minutes either. I think I can manage a little more time than that.

A complete listing of Remembrance Day ceremonies is available on the Veterans Affairs Canada website.


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2 Responses to “Remembrance Day”

Betty Antoine

my father was a private, served in WWII. He did see fighting, he came home injured, with schrapnel, which bothered him the rest of his life. he, like your grandfather, did not like to talk about his days out there, did not even like to watch anything like it on tv, saying they did not experience it firsthand. he had an Optimistic attitude though, came home, married his sweetheart, had 10 children, and instilled in us good morals, love and faith. He is gone now ( 2002), but I remember, not only him, not only the fallen, but all those who are still out there, fighting for our country. That they stay safe, and come home to their families whole, not in boxes.


Robert Monette

The man on the left is name is Roland Monette he was in RCAF as a LAC he died in 1977 on the 16 oct. That man his my father


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