(Grace Kennedy/Observer)

Louis: Take a silent moment to remember, if only for a while

Remembrance Day needs to be a time of unity

In August of 1915, a group of Russian soldiers – once strong at 900 and dropping fast – held tight to Osowiec Fortress in modern Poland.

It was a critical defensive stronghold against the Germans, who bombarded the fortress for six days that summer. The Germans were 7,000 strong outside the walls of the fortress, somehow repelled time and time again by hopelessly outnumbered foes.

The Germans brought out chlorine and bromide gas. They knew the Russians were poorly equipped. They marched in, expecting no resistance.

With what was left of their bodies, some fueled by raw hatred, others with devotion to their motherland, they rose. The Germans’ confidence shattered at the sight of the impossible. Though only 60 to 100 Russians remained, the terrified Germans were again driven back by this attack of the dead men, trampling each other and catching themselves in their own traps. A few Russians managed to still evacuate, demolishing the fortress a few weeks later.

Men and women who saw and even experienced moments of valor and unspeakable, at times senseless bloodshed like this walk among us, many of them only in spirit now, whether having passed away on the battlefield or surviving to a life beyond the horrors of war that still cling to us.

On November 11, we remember the brave men and women who died for the good of the nation. They put their lives, their bodies, their sanity on the line for a variety of reasons, chief of which being a service to their country.

Though relationships are tenuous right now between Canada and its closest neighbour America, we’ve fought for each other time and again against threats far bigger than both our nations combined. Having lived in both nations, I’ve seen a parallel beyond our borders. Both countries hold military service in high regard and have shown utmost reverence to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. And rightly so.

Some proclaimed their patriotism with their whole chest as they joined the service. Many were drafted. All faced fear. Bloodshed. Panic. The threat of death at any moment. Some lost friends, brothers and sisters, children to the war.

For those that have fallen, we fall silent, if only for a while, to remember the stories that live on through us – stories of who they were off the battlefield, tales of bravery, camaraderie and loss that only the living hell of war can create.

We mourn the lives that could have been, yet we celebrate the lives that were. This year is, naturally, different, but I’d like to encourage you to find your own way to remember the ones who died battling those who would see Canada fall.

No matter your political differences, your disputes with your neighbours, your feelings on religion, the pandemic, the media, whatever it is that continues to divide us, silence it, if only for a little while.

On Remembrance Day, let’s set it all aside and unite – apart – and let the memories come. Mourn, celebrate, pray – whatever it is that speaks to you as you observe and pay your respects, see that it is done. Though we cannot seek to repay the ultimate sacrifice so many have given, we can continue to keep this hallowed tradition alive.

May we never forget.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
news@ahobserver.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Adam Louis is a reporter with the Agassiz-Harrison Observer. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

AgassizHarrison Hot Springs

Just Posted

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Victoria residents protest masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Approximately 100 people gathered in Centennial Square Saturday afternoon

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Port Alberni’s Isha Rai picked up her Coldest Night of the Year toque outside of the ACAWS office on Saturday. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Nine-year-old raises $3K for Coldest Night of the Year

Port Alberni’s Isha Rai was highest-earning participant in annual fundraiser

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
Vancouver Island children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of Vancouver Island’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

One of the approximately 1,200 street lights within the city of Parksville that will be changed to 3000 Kelvin LED under BC Hydro’s Streetlight Replacement Project. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville to go ahead with 3000K streetlights for BC Hydro project

Concerns about excessive brightness and resident privacy raised

(Black Press file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Wexford Creek home in Nanaimo declared over

Social visits resume at south Nanaimo facility today, Feb. 27, says Island Health

(Black Press file)
Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools reports COVID-19 exposure at Cedar Elementary

School district says Island Health has completed contact tracing

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

The Township of Esquimalt will finalize its plastic bag ban in March, after receiving approval from the province for its proposed bylaw. (THE CANADIAN PRESS file photo/Paul Chiasson)
Plastic bag ban coming soon to Esquimalt

Municipality set to enact bylaw outlawing single-use bags in March

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Most Read