On Monday, Canadians will take time to observe Remembrance Day, a day to pay tribute to those who died in military action and a day to reflect on the costs of war.
The solemn ceremony will include two minutes of silence and the laying of wreaths.
Traditionally, the tone has been a sombre reflection, a hope that war would never be repeated and an ongoing call for peace.
The day — Nov. 11 — marks the conclusion of the First World War 101 years earlier, on Nov. 11, 1918.
That war had been billed as The War to End All Wars. It lasted four years and resulted in eight million military deaths, more than 21 million wounded in action and close to eight million civilian deaths.
Then, 21 years after the end of the First World War, the world was at war once again.
The Second World War lasted six years and one day, and during that time, there were more than 24 million military deaths and 49 million civilian deaths.
During this war, 100 million people from 30 countries were directly involved.
The sheer scope of this war is something difficult if not impossible to comprehend.
Some of the casualties of the First and Second World Wars are inscribed on cenotaphs across the country.
But others returned from the two world wars, forever changed by what they had experienced.
And yet the story keeps repeating.
Since the Second World War concluded in 1945, Canadian troops have participated in Korea, numerous peacekeeping missions, the First Gulf War and Afghanistan.
The quest for peace today seems just as elusive as it was more than a century ago, during the First World War.
The stories of our living veterans, as well as written accounts from veterans of earlier wars, are important as they can show the high costs when escalating conflicts result in warfare.
The Remembrance Day ceremony is a way to pay tribute to those who died in military service.
But the best way to honour those who died in combat is to take time for reflection and then to promote peace.
— Black Press
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