We will remember them

Remembrance-Day-logoRemembrance Day – November 11, 2014

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.

Erin McConnellBy 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.

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5 Responses to We will remember them

  1. Clair Proulx says:

    Oh this is very interesting as I was at memorial service with Girl Guides and a girl from each branch who laid a wreath on behalf of Girl Guides. It was held at the area.

    SO we still do it and will as long as I can . We have military families join us at different locations in North Bay.

    Thank you for sharing your memories.

    Claire proulx

  2. Erin,

    What a beautiful and moving blog. We need always remember the sacrifices that others have made so we can enjoy the peace and freedom our beautiful country has to offer. Some children are born in conflict and war and have never have the chance to go to school, to get proper healthcare, or even access to clean water. It is hard to understand these things and maybe, in some way, we are fortunate that we don’t. All this because of the bravery and selflessness of many men and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Yesterday, I was fortunate to have taken part in the Remembrance Day service at Canada’s National War Memorial in Ottawa with 50 of my Guiding sisters, including Sharon Callahan, the Chief Commissioner and International Commissioner, and Deborah Del Duca, Chief Executive Officer of GGC. One of the most poignant parts of the service for me was what Governor-General David Johnston’s said in his Remembrance Day speech when he rededicated the war memorial:

    “Look upward now, and against the sky see the bronze figures of Peace and Freedom. Their arms are linked. They cannot be separated. Because freedom without peace is agony, and peace without freedom is slavery, and we will tolerate neither. This is the truth we owe our dead.”

    Johnston later added: “We are people of peace, of respect and tolerance, kindness and honour. These qualities are alive in our national conscience precisely because we hold them as precious. We have the luxury to do so because those we remember today believed those qualities to be precious enough to die for.”

    We will remember.

    Thank you Erin for all YOU do for Guiding. You are one of many who make this country a beautiful place to live.

    Brigitte Trau
    Ottawa

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Erin. I had the honour of attending this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, joining with countless girls and Guiders from surrounding communities. It was particularly important for me to be present at this year’s ceremony, to stand side-by-side with the thousands who came to show their support of those whose courage and sacrifices have made our nation strong and free. It was a truly moving event, made even more memorable by seeing so many Girl Guide members support our veterans and active military personnel.

    Sharron Callahan
    Chief Commissioner and International Commissioner,
    Girl Guides of Canada-Guides du Canada

  4. Pingback: Remembrance: Wearing uniform to school | Brownie Meeting Ideas

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