(Black Press Media file photo)

(Black Press Media file photo)

LETTER: A salute to the sacrifices made by so many Canadians

Slowly they come, marching steadily, their eyes fixed forward on a day they would summon all their waning strength to take part in.

A handful now, forcing ailing bodies to march erect and show their pride and respect, here and there a badge or regimental crest to show where they served.

The onlookers fall silent and children still their chatter feeling the heavy sentiment directed at the marching figures.

The cenotaph in the centre of the city is ringed by dignitaries and small military units, and the procession of wreath bearers begins. The veterans are seated now among those old comrades who now must sit in wheelchairs.

They watch the growing floral tributes but do not see them. Instead they see a fiery tumbling shape falling from the bomber stream marking the funeral pyre of friends they had joked with only hours before. The spiteful crack of a rifle, which had killed the man beside them.

A proud destroyer cut in half by a torpedo from an unseen foe leaving men struggling and drowning in the icy waters.

Each has indelible memories of those youthful faces and cheerful voices which were silenced long ago, the wars that were often caused by religious intolerance or some political expediency.

The traffic stilled some time before and the prayers now done a canon sounds to begin the silence designed to prevent future conflict.

The notes of the bugle sound clear, climbing the scale in the tribute the veterans know so well and there are unashamed tears on many faces.

Many turn their thoughts to happier things but the old survivors wonder how many will march next year to keep the faith with those who live forever in their minds until they themselves are gone.

Michael Hanson