As we find ourselves in the midst of this pandemic, Remembrance Day is very different this year. Social distancing restrictions have either cancelled or limited Remembrance Day ceremonies and Legions and poppy sales have been altered by less in-person sales.
The circumstances surrounding Remembrance Day 2020 are both unique and unprecedented. But what remains unchanged is the level of gratitude we share for those who served and are currently serving our country.
In October, I had the privilege of standing in the House of Commons to speak about the importance of both Royal Canadian Legions and Army, Navy, and Airforce veterans’ groups including our Royal Canadian Legion Branch 26 in Downtown Kelowna and Branch 189 in Oyama.
Legions and Veterans Service groups are integral parts of our community fabric and their work is invaluable. Across Canada and in Kelowna-Lake Country they serve veterans and their families. They provide support, advocacy, and financial assistance free of charge. They also offer social interaction and wellbeing support during a time when many feel isolated.
I commend these groups for their community work. Not only do they provide support and care, but through their commemorative activities and youth education programs, the next generation of Canadians are learning about the importance of our military and their role in protecting our freedoms.
I had the honour of attending the annual Field of Crosses Opening Ceremony by the Kelowna Cenotaph. This year was especially significant, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.
In Kelowna City Park, 240 crosses were set up to commemorate the lives of local Canadian Armed Forces members who lost their lives serving Canada.
Walking amongst the crosses, seeing the names of those who died serving our country, is an incredibly moving experience. It is a striking visual reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifices. A sacrifice to ensure the freedoms we have today.
This Remembrance Day, I encourage you to take time to reflect on the sacrifices of those who fought for this country we are blessed to call home.
May we never take their sacrifice for granted. Lest we forget.