November 11. Remembrance Day. As a child, I recall the assemblies we had in school every year to give tribute to those who fought in the first and second world wars but the true meaning of the sacrifices people made was mostly lost on us. It is not something most children in the free world can comprehend. The irony is we could not comprehend it precisely because of those men and women who fought hard so we could live in a world free of oppression.
In my early years as a social worker, I worked with many veterans and came to understand the true meaning of sacrifice. I learned that every veteran remembers his vet ID number as if it is his name. I learned that when you are fighting for your life with others, you understand what a 'brother' truly is. You learn the importance of looking out for each other. You learn true fear. You learn about being brave. You learn not to 'sweat the small stuff'. You learn what is important in life. You learn how horrible war is. You see the worst in people and the best. For those who serve in a theatre of war, you are changed forever.
Today is about so many things. Its about remembering the men and women who fought for this amazing country we live in today. Its about the men and women who are fighting now for other countries to be as blessed as we are. It's about understanding that freedom should not be taken for granted. It's about never forgetting about the people who lost their lives or those who survived who were changed forever by what they saw and experienced. It's about recognizing how fortunate we are. It's about thanking the people now and in the past who keep us safe and value freedom above their own lives.
Lest we forget.