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Lest We Forget: Remember To Remember On Wednesday

Canadian Vimy Cemetery No 2

There is sure to be a plethora of media noise emanating from my southern neighbours for the next weeks, if not months (years?). Even with the election of Joe Biden, after four long days of painstaking ballot counting, the fireworks are not going to end soon.

And once again he has, sadly, opted to be as un-presidential as possible and incite his followers to ignore the democratic process.

The incumbent has dug in his heels and will not concede defeat, nor agree to a smooth transition. Once again he has an opportunity to lead the country in a mature, responsible, statesman-like peaceful manner. And once again he has, sadly, opted to be as un-presidential as possible and incite his followers to ignore the democratic process.

This election has been conducted against the backdrop of the Novel Coronavirus; voting was different, with many ballots mailed in by citizens who chose not to gather at polling places where social distancing would be almost impossible. Therefore there was a delay in the counting.

Many women and men have, over the decades, given their lives to ensure this freedom

The United States does many things very well, running elections is not one of them. Regardless, to a citizen, they claim to respect the right of free elections. The ability to chose who will run the country, make laws and enforce them is sacrosanct. Many people around the world do not have this privilege. My wife is from Venezuela where they may well cast ballots, but the outcome is never in doubt.

But in the US votes matter. As they do here in Canada, and other democracies. Many women and men have, over the decades, given their lives to ensure this freedom. Wars have been fought and won in the name of freedom. This fact is, not surprisingly, rarely considered while standing in line to vote, or dropping off a ballot at the post office.

With the current news cycle focused on the US election and COVID-19, it is imperative that we take a moment this Wednesday, November 11, Remembrance Day, to remember all of those who gave their lives for our freedom. It doesn’t matter what party you vote for, left or right, Conservative or Liberal, the ability to choose is what free elections are all about.

My grandfather G.E Blackwell and his son Russell, my uncle. There names are etched in the local Catholic church with all parishioners who served.

My great-grandfather did his best to do what he believed was his part, but was too old. His son, my grandfather fought in the trenches of France and Belgium in the First World War, my father and uncles did the same, perhaps not trench warfare, in World War II. Fortunately they all came home, many others were not so lucky.

Let’s remember to remember this Wednesday.

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