Our take: Remembrance Day is always something unforgettable
Maybe it's the blood-red poppies.
Or the stirring Scottish bagpipe music.
Or the far-away gaze of veterans in blue blazers, loaded with colorful medals, that brings a tickle of patriotic sadness to one's nose before eyes well with tears.
Most of all Remembrance Day is a feeling.
It's shared by folks of all ages standing somberly in respect at the hundreds of war cenotaphs strung across Canada every Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.
It's understandable why veterans cry; quietly and vividly remembering buddies killed in some forgotten town or farm field more than 65 years ago — or just five years ago
They likely can't help picturing smokes or jokes they shared, maybe for years before that pal was brutally cut down by a bullet, shrapnel, a landmine, by accident — or, God forbid, by friendly fire.
But surely it's our collective unconsciousness of war's horrors that compels even kids in Boy Cubs, Girl Guides, Beavers — and maybe some toddlers — to be still during The Last Post.
Sour notes don't even register.
A shared feeling of melancholy curiously grabs hold as we withdraw, wondering how a nearby veteran acted under fire, clutching dirt in a dark foxhole; how a relative might have died; and how it might have been us in that terrifying gunfight or bombing, if not for the angel of time.
Then the minute's silence gives us time to ponder why wars are still necessary after centuries of death.
Sixty-thousand Canadians were killed in the Second World War, beside six million Jews, and 20 million Russians.
Some say that war was necessary to save us from true evil created by Hitler and Hirohito.
But what of other wars fought for political and economic reasons, or oil, religion, ego, power, or greed?
These questions also surface on Remembrance Day — along with ways humanity could finally evolve past war to a brave, new world, based on lasting peace.
Buy a poppy. Head to the nearest cenotaph on Sunday at around 10 a.m.
By that sacred 11th hour, you'll have plenty to think about — and to be thankful for.