Where does peace come from? A word that comes to my mind is sacrifice. Today marks the day we especially remember those who have served to bring peace and freedom. Over 2.3 million Canadians have served in our military. About 120,000 bright and capable Canadians, usually young, have departed earthly life too early in defense of freedom and peace. But not all were the young recruits. One was my wife’s maternal grand-father, Captain Kenneth Bearman West of the Governor General's Foot Guards, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. Ken West died at age 37, a husband and dad, in Normandy August 11, 1944, only weeks after the June 6th D-Day invasion to liberate Europe.
Twelve years ago my wife and three of our sons travelled to Normandy and visited the Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery where Ken is buried (that's me pictured above with my youngest son). It was truly sobering to be there, in the midst of row upon row of crosses and other grave markers of Canadians who paid the ultimate price. I was happy to see how well maintained the cemetery was, and the regard to which the citizens of Normandy still held for their liberators. Yet I was also reminded of the poem In Flanders Field. Written in 1915 in a WW1 bunker in the Ypres Salient region of Belgium, John McCrae, a Canadian physician, surgeon and soldier wrote these familiar words:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing fly,
Scarce heard among the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you and from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
This Remembrance Day, as all Remembrance Days, please consider attending a Remembrance Day service at a Cenotaph or elsewhere or take a moment to quietly honour all those who have sacrificed for our peace and freedom. Thank you Capt. Ken West and thousands of others. Lest we never forget.
Michael Bentley, SierraSil® Health Inc