Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For the Fallen

On this day last year, I was upbraided by a guest who was appalled that Ste. Anne's didn't acknowledge Remembrance Day in any significant way. My initial response was to be defensive, after all, I had attended the ceremony at the cenotaph in Grafton, I had worn red every Friday, I purchased my poppy and I felt that the way in which a person acknowledges the sacrifices of our war heroes was a personal choice. Looking back, I know that I can never even begin to comprehend the range of emotions felt not only by those who have served our country, but also by their loved ones who have been left behind to proudly mourn their loss and celebrate their achievement. There are so many cliches that I could use; "war is a terrible thing", "never again", but all I know for sure is that I hope I never have to know the fear, the pain, the grief, the loss, or the pride of fighting for my country. All I can do - all the vast majority of us who benefit from the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform can do is to pause and give thanks. Today, Robert, a principled young man who works here at the spa and has become fast friends with many staff and guests, was up at the crack of dawn, on his knees pinning hundreds of poppies in the courtyard at the spa in memory of his father, who fought in the war. Thank you Robert for helping us find a dignified way to acknowledge this special day. I suppose I still feel that the acknowledgement of this special day should be a personal choice, but a subtle little nudge to those who haven't been privileged to experience true loss and sacrifice for the greater good is perhaps the least we can do.

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