This time of year seems to bring out the memories, the medals, the war stories, the tears and reflections. The problem with that is that it happens once a year. Patriotism seems to come out at holiday time and get tucked back into the closet for the rest of the year.
Growing up on the east coast of Canada, we often traveled to Buffalo New York to visit family. I would always take notice of all the homes in New York State (along with the other 49) waving 'Old Glory' so proudly every day. There was never a good enough answer for me as to why Canadians never had our flag waving proudly off of 'our' front porches.
It seems that Canadians are 'inwardly patriotic'. We acknowledge our Soldiers and War Veterans. We mark Remembrance Day with the reverence and honor it so richly deserves, but somehow the day-to-day patriotism that the Americans have just isn't present.
Some of my best memories involve the Military in one form or another. From seeing my Godfather standing proudly in his Air Force uniform at CFB Trenton or being married to a well seasoned Soldier; my pledge to the Military has been steadfast and unyielding.
As Canadians, we grew up in school learning the prophetic poem 'In Flanders Fields', but again that only seems to get dusted off once a year and then tucked back for safe keeping. For a Soldier and their families, there is no 'turning on and off Patriotism'. It is there 24/7/365. It is a way of life, a daily struggle to find balance and always at the ready to give the ultimate sacrifice.
If you have ever asked yourself 'Why do we need Veteran's Day?' or 'What's the point of wearing a Poppy?' Stop, look in the mirror and say 'I'm free to complain because someone fought for my freedom'!
Freedom has a price and it has been 'Written in Blood'.
To all those who have served I say 'SEMPER FI', To all those who has lost I say, 'Your sacrifice was not in vain'. Finally, to those who choose not to stand behind their Military, I say ' STAND IN FRONT YOU'LL MAKE A MUCH BETTER TARGET'
DUTY, HONOR, INTEGRITY