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Remembering our military’s contributions

Posted on November 6, 2013 by Lethbridge Sun Times

As another Remembrance Day approaches, it’s a reminder to take time to recognize the contributions of Canada’s military members through the years.

These contributions are often overlooked by citizens who have no connection to the military. That’s why people like local veteran Glenn Miller work diligently to keep the memories alive, as detailed in this week’s cover story.

The efforts of Canada’s military members and veterans aren’t to be taken lightly. In the First World War, approximately 650,000 Canadians served and more than 68,000 gave their lives in the fight against tyranny. In the Second World War, another battle for freedom ensued which involved more than a million Canadian soldiers, with 47,000 paying the ultimate price.

Close to 27,000 Canadian military members participated in the Korean War in the 1950s, and 516 of them died.

Add to that more recent conflicts involving Canadian troops, from peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Rwanda to the war in Afghanistan which has claimed the lives of more than 150 Canadian Forces personnel.

It might be difficult for many Canadians today, especially younger generations, to fully appreciate the work that Canada’s military members do. We haven’t had war threaten our borders since the days of the Second World War when German U-boats invaded the waters of the St. Lawrence River and Gulf of St. Lawrence. But by fighting for the freedom of citizens in foreign lands, our troops have essentially fought for our freedom, too.

Even when Canadians haven’t been directly threatened, our troops have done their part in the global community by fighting to keep others safe.

These efforts by Canadian soldiers past and present are worthy of recognition. As Miller noted in this week’s cover story, it’s easier for us to take note of the important work performed by our firefighters and police officers because we see them on the job. By and large, our Canadian Forces members do their work out of our sight and, as a result, it’s out of our minds, too. We don’t often stop to think about the very important contributions our military members have made, and are making.

Many of them pay a high price for the work they do. Some give their lives; others suffer serious, sometimes debilitating injuries, and consequently, they essentially give their lives, too.

But these noble citizens know the risks and yet choose to serve anyway. We do them a huge disservice when we fail to acknowledge or remember their efforts and sacrifices, which are done on our behalf.

At this time of year, at the very least, we need to take time to remember — and say thanks.

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