At the corner of 12 Avenue and 4 Street SW is a small, well-manicured park. Among its features are some trees and winding pathways, several large statues and a beautiful sandstone library. And on the west side of the park is a square of grey flagstones with a tall, solemn cenotaph—a monument created by the citizens of Calgary in 1928 to honour the men and women who have died serving our country in war.
It has been a Canadian tradition not to celebrate war; we rarely hold military parades of brass bands, marching regiments and roaring tanks. Rather, we choose to quietly recall the hard and often terrible sacrifices that must be made in war’s name. So every November 11th, we hold reflective Remembrance Day ceremonies. Instead of a brass band, we listen to a lone trumpet playing “Taps,” and to readings and speeches honouring our veterans, both living and dead. We wear red poppies, a simple symbol of remembrance inspired by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s haunting poem “In Flanders Fields.” And we remember.
We live in a time when our fighting men and women are once again in peril. As Canadians, we are not seen as a warlike nation—and we are not. But when put to the test, we have shown great resolve. It may have something to do with a certain seriousness of mind, a desire to do good, and a compassionate and clear understanding of sacrifice. —Andrew Mah
Remembrance Day ceremonies will be held at The Military Museums at 10:40 am, with a laying of wreaths at Memorial Park around noon.—Andrew Mah