Rain or shine, sleet or snow, Niagara-on-the-Lake always turns out for Remembrance Day.
A year ago, in torrential rain, the crowd was a bit more sparse than most years, but many simply grabbed their umbrellas and prevailed, slogging their way through the downpour.
Through our two world wars, Korea, Afghanistan and numerous other deployments worldwide over the decades, nothing stops the members of the Canadian Armed Forces from fulfilling their duties. They serve no matter the circumstances. No matter the weather. No matter how poorly outfitted they are.
As has been well-documented by many others, Canada’s forces are a shadow of what they once were.
We can blame the current federal Liberal government, but the truth is that no national leader, Grit or Conservative, has followed through on myriad promises to properly support our forces. It’s been decades of promises and platitudes.
We are not talking about Canada needing or aspiring to be a dominant military leader. That is not our reality. But our nation does have a role to play.
Sadly, we have all heard the stories – whether about injured veterans being cast aside or not given the support they deserve or our armed forces being massively underappreciated.
And then there is the chronic underfunding of Canada’s military – even just basics in many cases, such as giving our soldiers the tools, equipment and even proper uniforms to do the job we demand of them.
We are not a warring nation, but as Canadians have long proved in the battlefield, we are warriors.
It is long past time our national leaders stopped mouthing their platitudes about how much they love and respect the men and women in uniform.
At this time of year, it falls to ordinary folks, in communities across Canada, to step up and be counted.
We do it by attending Remembrance Day services in towns and cities small and large, perhaps watching the national ceremony on television or taking time to reflect on our own.
And wearing a poppy.
That red poppy remains a symbol of remembrance and caring – and when you donate and wear one, you help support those veterans who need a hand.
So, as Niagara-on-the-Lake veterans remind us in stories in this week’s edition, please wear a poppy and take time to remember.
And do tell our federal leaders, no matter the party, that they need to do more than just talk about how much they love our soldiers.
This Saturday, Nov. 11, as the sun shines at NOTL’s two cenotaphs, on Queen Street and in Queenston, if you are able, please take the time to join the hundreds who will turn out to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf. It’s the least we can do.
Lest we forget.