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Taking Time to Remember

November is always a busy month. It seems like it shouldn’t be, but it somehow sneaks up on us every year. Thanksgiving and Halloween are behind us, but Christmas is on the horizon, which means that November kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season for many folks as they try to get ahead of the game. Black Friday continues to make its way into Canadian stores and shopping malls, creating another “holiday” to plan for and work around. If you’re a student, chances are you’re spending November buried in books – wrapping up midterms, preparing for finals, and pushing to get all those end-of-semester assignments ready for submission. If you’re a parent, this month means helping your kids excel in their studies as their homework piles higher and deeper around them with each passing week. Even work seems somewhat frantic as everyone races towards the close of the year, eager to finalize projects, reports, and submissions before the fast-approaching holiday break.

As busy as November (not to mention our lives in general) can often be, it’s important to take some time this month to put on the brakes for a second, stop, and reflect on a few things – namely, the notion of remembrance. It’s an easy thing to forget and brush off in all the chaos that everyday life brings, but here at The Newsy Neighbour, we’ll be taking some time on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to pause…

....and reflect on those brave men and women who gave so much in order that we might enjoy our beautiful nation of Canada in unfettered freedom as we do today. This Remembrance Day, as with all Remembrance Days past and future, we’ll stop what we’re doing, and for one brief moment out of the whole 365-day-long year, we’ll focus on what it means to sacrifice and to stand on guard for the True North, strong and free.

We could spend time in this article talking about the brave Canadians whose heroic acts during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Normandy Invasion, and countless other pivotal engagements helped to turn the tide during WWI and WWII. We could write a lengthy essay lamenting the unfathomable tragedy of 104,944 Canadian lives lost in service to their country between World Wars I and II, not to mention the thousands who have died in conflicts around the globe since. We could pen an entire issue of this magazine dedicated to those who have died in the name of freedom – of Canada – in the 151 years since Confederation…but the thing is, no matter how many words we devote to the cause, it will never be enough. It’ll never even come close.

And so, we pause for a moment of silence.

We pause to dwell on the pain, the heartbreak, and the horror that war brings. We pause to reflect on hope, freedom, and independence. We pause to be thankful for everything we have, and for our great, wondrous nation. We pause to look back on the past, and to gaze ahead to the future. We pause to consider the political division and strife that’s running at a fever pitch right now, and to contemplate a better, more peaceful way forward.

We pause to remember – because if we don’t take the time to consider the mistakes we’ve made, we’re bound to repeat them again.

This Remembrance Day, take the time to remember. Wherever you are at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month – whether you’re shopping, studying, or working – pause for a moment of silence, and take the time to truly, earnestly reflect on our nation’s past, present, and future. Be grateful for all that we have, and honour those who paid the ultimate price for us to enjoy our lives, our freedoms, and our country. Remember what it means to be Canadian – we know we will.

Kyle Penn


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