Let’s talk today about our Canadian Armed Forces and our veterans who served and gave their lives and their health for our freedoms. In our Canadian society which is filled with freedoms and unprecedented wealth compared to past generations, it is important to take special time to remember those who served to
protect our country. When I talk to veterans about why they felt called to serve, they have different reasons but one reason is repeated over and over. The veterans say that they served to protect their comrades in arms. There was a solidarity and
camaraderie in the Armed Forces that has eluded them in “civie” life. These soldiers felt a sense of duty to protect one another and stand and fight together. We remember those who served in WWI (known at the time as the war to end all wars) at the beginning of the twentieth century. They fought to protect our country
from domination. In WWII, we remember those who fought along side with the British empire to protect us all from the tyranny of Nazi Germany. We also remember those who have served in the many war torn areas around the world to keep the peace and have given their lives in the service of our freedoms. What our
soldiers have paid for with their blood and their very lives is so many freedoms that we often overlook. Let’s take a moment to consider these freedoms and stand on guard for these freedoms which have been so costly to win. Sherry Turkle, remembers when her grandmother took her to the public library and
explained to her that here we have the freedom to take any book out of the library and the government does not have the right to know what we are reading. This was a special and sacred right to her to explain to her granddaughter. Our minds
are protected from intrusion from the state. We need to protect this freedom and guard it.
Our veterans and current Armed Forces have fought to protect our freedom of expression. We have the freedom to express dissenting views, especially because it
is the dialogue between differing views that allows a broader perspective and an understanding between us to flourish. Recently, it has become unacceptable to
express such differing views. Those who identify with mainstream media are less tolerant of perspectives which challenge this status quo. Those who differing ideas read and view news that is consistent with their stated world view. Whether in the
workplace or in social gatherings, we need to encourage differing ideas and attempt genuinely to understand each other or at least hear each other.
We have the freedom to assemble for the purpose of organizing socially. We have the freedom of religion, to worship openly and talk about our convictions. We have the freedom to educate our children in the manner which matches our values.
We can send our children to private, public, Catholic or even home school them.
This is a freedom that many do not have. We have the freedom to own personal property and to own and operate a company. The state does not have a monopoly on commerce. Think back this past week about all the freedoms you have exercised and remember who has paid for those freedoms. Now, let’s all work
together to preserve these freedoms and respect what was paid for in blood.
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Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the courage to have creativity in response to it.