It’s a lost concept, it seems. A simple concept, really. Webster’s defines it as “a high or special regard“.
I believe that’s the least we can do… hold those who were willing to, and especially those who did give their lives to defend our freedom in “a high or special regard.”
Last year my wife and I went to the Remembrance Day ceremony in our town. It’s a small town, but the turnout was amazing. People from every imaginable walk of life were there. And they’re there every year.
I took my camera, naturally, and spent a lot of time photographing the people there. My “high or special regard” that day was for the veterans in attendance. I was fascinated by their pride and honour at having served in our Armed Forces. The uniforms pressed immaculately, the medals adorning every chest, the eyes sparkling with a special something that they alone know.
They were why we were there, after all. And those less fortunate who never returned from the foreign lands where they gave their lives for our Freedom.
In two World Wars and countless “police actions” around the world, Canadian men and women have selflessly given themselves for the cause of Freedom.
There was one veteran in particular who captured my attention. He was an old man accompanied by a young woman, probably his grand-daughter. She was so attentive yet respectful, and never left his side.
The poppy on his chest was in good company. Rose of medals were pinned there too. The lines etched on his face told of all the things he’d experienced in his long life. As the ceremony reached the two minutes of silence, he got more and more emotional, until his arm snapped into a salute to his fallen comrades, and the tears rolled down his face.
The emotions captured in that single moment of salute and tears tell it all. What more needs to be said?
Other than, perhaps, to quote a few relevant lines from Lawrence Vaincourt’s amazing poem “A Soldier Died Today“:
“Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?“