Remembrance Day is once again upon us, though the events that serve as the keystone to commemoration continue to fall further and further into the rearview.
There are no veterans remaining from the First World War, and throughout North America those who took part in the Second World War or Korean War are said to be dying in record numbers.
The most current Veterans Affairs figures showed that there are somewhere in the area of 70,000 Canadian Second World War servicemen and women still living, and their average age is 91.
Totals are dwindling, too, for Korean War veterans, with 9,100 remaining in Canada, and most north of 80 years old.
Simply put, time and age calls on them in the same fashion that their country once did when it needed them to rise up and defend the greater good.
Meanwhile, of the regular forces and primary reserves, there are 600,300 veterans whose ages average 57.
In our ever-changing world, the abundant choice is to push these wars and their veterans to the outer edges, past the here and now.
It’s hard to fault this reality, as the majority of these conflicts truly are the distant past — the stuff of Google searches and encyclopedia passages.
Yet, there is no doubt that the memories remain hauntingly familiar for many.
These recollections mark the faces of the elderly in each and every community. Those who either saw the horrors of the battlefield firsthand, or who lived back home during the time of War Savings Bonds and government imposed rationing.
It’s important, though, at least at this time of year, to recall the great sacrifices made. Some went overseas only to never come home, while others came home in body bags. Then there are those who came home deeply scarred, be it physically or mentally.
This is figured in the thousands of former soldiers back in Canada, but homeless, broken and using shelters near nightly.
Our youngest veterans, too, deserve to be recognized for their contributions. Especially those home with nothing more than horrible memories.
The community responded, despite the rain, during Winchester’s pre-Remembrance Day ceremony, and it surely will again on Saturday.
There’s also the area cadets who have flown “across the pond” to mark this year’s remembrance at those long ago battle sites.
The past is part of this country’s fabric, and it helps to deepen our worldview.
We must be continually grateful.