Remembrance Day (Veteran's Day in the US) this coming weekend is important to me. I am so grateful for the sacrifice of those who serve(d) in defense of others, and the too many who lost their lives and left heartbroken families.
In Ottawa, the Government has a Room of Remembrance. It was in the Peace Tower, but due to renovations to Centre Block, a new room was created near the new Parliament visitor’s centre. The room was design by CENTRUS (a joint venture comprising of WSP engineering and HoK Architecture hired by PSPC to work on the Center Block Rehabilitation Project). I met with Jai Bawa (Key advisor to the Canadian Health and Fitness Institute) who was part of the team and played an integral role at CENTRUS for the design and construction of the Centre Block Rehabilitation Project.
This past October, my wife and I took her mum, Heather, to see her dad's name in the new Room of Remembrance. I wrote about Capt. Kenneth West in my November 2022 blog. On October 11th, Capt. West's page in the World War II book was turned over and we were there for the ceremony. It was deeply moving, especially for Heather, and I was very happy to experience the reverence of the event. Lesley and I then went on to Montreal, where there are a number of places with plaques honouring the war dead, including in private institutions such as the original Bank of Montreal branch in Old Montreal.
This weekend, in Canada, there will be Remembrance Services at Cenotaphs, places of worship and some schools. Please take time to attend a service. It will mean a lot to the families, friends and colleagues of those whose lives are remembered. If you see a person in military uniform, please thank them for their service. I'd also extend that to members of our police forces, who overwhelmingly serve with dignity and professionalism, too often in stressful circumstances of hostile, drug induced violent or disrespectful behaviour.
Around the world, sadly, there is still horrific hostility. As I write, Christians are being murdered in northern Nigeria, armed conflict and missile strikes continue in the Russian attack on Ukraine (and the response) and there is brutal carnage in the middle east (in Gaza and Israel) triggered by the hateful Hamas leaders. These are just but a few of the conflicts right now manifested by evil in the hearts of too many men. I mourn for all the victims.
Sadly, the conflicts abroad are manifesting in fear at home. Fear that is real, thanks to threats and actual vandalism of personal property at University dorms and to houses, businesses and signage. These threats seem to be disproportionately (but not exclusively) directed at members of the Jewish community. Some of my ancestors lost their lives at the hand of Nazis and Capt. West died fighting that evil. Some of my ancestors were fortunate to have escaped, and in some cases, double persecution, as my late Aunt Louisa lost her husband and her children lost their dad as he was executed by the Communists in Yugoslavia.
War and hate are deeply troubling. Yet we need a strong, well-equipped military to fight evil and deter future violence. And let us honour those who have and do serve for peace, Lest We Forget.
Experience the solemn beauty of the Room of Remembrance with me. Click on the image to embark on a heartfelt tour paying tribute to the heroes who served and sacrificed.