It is that time of year again when the poppies, the crosses, the sacrifices, and the memories are in the forefront of our vision and our minds.  We think of loved ones lost and family that served over the years. We think of people we know of or hear of that are still serving. We think of and reflect on the sacrifices that seemed to make sense to all, the "clean wars" and those that inspire constant political debate on whether or not they were right or wrong. The truth is war, conflict, violence, never makes sense. Whether necessary or not, there is so much in it and that spirals from it that never, ever makes sense.  We may not all agree on whether or not certain conflicts, occupations, peace keeping missions etc. were right or wrong but I believe that there is always a part of it that can bring cohesion; that ties us all together on this day. 

People are brave. 

I'm not talking just about going into a battle, running full force toward and away from fear. While courage in the face of fear is bravery, there is far more bravery that should be remembered than that; something larger, something all encompassing. 

This morning I was thinking about how all those that serve are just everyday people like you and me. They are just people who want to have a cold beer after work, or sleep in on a stormy day. Who want to draw or paint, or run, eat good food, watch a new movie, laugh, dance, cut their grass, play with their children, fall in love, read, climb mountains, sit by fires with friends, drink wine, go fishing, go for long walks, play with their dog, listen to music, go for coffee, play hockey on a pond in winter, sit on a park bench, tell bad jokes, watch the sunrise and watch it set. There is a million things a million people want to do. We all just want to live simple, lovely, enjoyable lives.  To serve is to give that up for a time, and for some to give it up forever. That, to me, is incredibly brave; that is a real sacrifice that should be respected and honoured. We all are born with a right to happiness, contentment and joy; many have and will continue to sacrifice that right.

Let us also remember that it is not just those that serve that have sacrificed. Let us not forget the bravery of those left behind; of all of those who support from the edges and yet are still in the middle of it all.  I believe we should also honour and remember all the mothers and fathers who raised children without their spouses, who bravely held down the family fort.  We should remember the brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers whose hearts ached as their loved ones fell, but bravely carried forward in their lives in honour of those lost.  Let us remember the doctors and nurses and ambulance drivers, the fundraisers, the letter writers, everyone who was there through it to do everything they could for support. Let us remember those who took over jobs and filled the vacancies of those that went away and in some cases, never came back. Let us remember friendships never forgotten, never lost, but stopped in time. Let us remember children who miss their parents or who will bravely grow up without them.

Somehow the core of it all slips away when we turn this into a political and cultural debate. We all have a right to our opinions, to our beliefs. We have a right to wear a poppy, to wear a white poppy or to not wear a poppy at all. But let us not become so engrossed in our debate, in our objections, or our arguments for either side, that we lose our respect and honour for the human heart.

Let us not debate on the right or the wrong; not on this day. We do not have to support the politics to remember. We do not have to support the violence to remember. We do not have to support war to remember. All we have to do is support the human heart. At the end of the day, to me, that is what I honour; the human heart. Because there is so very much of it in all of this remembering, all the history, all the sacrifice, all the loss; that is worth honouring today and every day.

Today whether you agree with any of it or not; honour the human heart.

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
 - Robert Frost


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