My earliest memories of Guiding are going to my Sparks meetings in a little church hall, on the Canadian Forces Base in North Bay, Ontario. I was excited to continue a family tradition. My mother, who was also my leader had been a Brownie right through to an Air Ranger. Her mother, my grandmother, had also been a leader. Both my father (a member of Canada’s military for over 40 years) and grandfather (a veteran of the Second World War) were leaders for several years with multiple branches of Scouts Canada. I’ve proudly continued the tradition and am well into my 23rd year of Guiding.
This year, as every year before, my unit will observe Remembrance Day. Though my girls are only 9-11 years old I think this year will be different for them. Being a unit from Ottawa, many of my girls will have, at some point, stood at the base of the memorial where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed as he stood guard at Canada’s National War Memorial. They would have heard on the news of WO Patrice Vincent, killed days earlier. They will know that these men were brave and understand that they died serving our country. They will want to talk about them, they will want to honour them. They will almost all have a family member, a friend’s parent, a neighbour who is/was a member of Canada’s military. They will want to honour them, too.
As members of an organization with a strong history of community service,, I feel it is our privilege to take the time to remember and appreciate what Canada’s military have done to make Canada the great nation that it is today. As generations pass and Canada’s involvement in international conflict changes, it is our obligation to remember, and to teach new generations why we, as Canadians get to live in a country that is free and safe.
Neither Cpl. Nathan Cirillo nor WO Patrice Vincent will have died in vain. Built indomitably on the sacrifices and bravery of veterans from generations before, our nation was not crippled by fear, but strengthened in community and pride. We are united in appreciation for Canada’s military and first responders and the work they do every day to keep Canada the true north, strong and free.
When the day is done, when the sun is gone, from the lakes, from the hills from the sky. When thanks to them, all is calm, and we can safely rest,
We will remember them.
By guest blogger Erin McConnell. Erin has been a member of Girl Guides of Canada for over 20 years. Growing up in a military family, Guiding was an important way to meet friends and settle into a new city after each move.Currently, Erin is a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemistry department at Carleton University, in Ottawa. She has especially enjoyed using her expertise to get girls enthusiastically involved in science and technology.