As I sit and write this post on this day of remembrance, I see military vehicles passing by my window. People will shortly gather in Memorial Park, at the heart of my neighbourhood.

I live in Victoria, British Columbia, the home of Canada’s Pacific Naval Fleet and the distinguished infantry regiment: The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary’s).

The Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt dominates my neighbourhood, Esquimalt. I am surrounded by historic Navy and Army sites. Every day I see uniformed servicemen and women. They are a major part of my community. I have friends who serve and family who have served.

Forgetting is not possible for me.

I had plans to attend Services today, unfortunately; I am in the midst of a move and will pick my sister up at the airport this afternoon. There is too much to do to prepare for her arrival.

Next year, I hope to attend services with my sister, who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. When my mom was still living, and no longer able to attend outside services. We were content to sit together and watch the televised broadcast from our nation’s capital, Ottawa. My mother passed in the spring of 2019. The reason why I didn’t attend in person that year eludes me. I think grief still had a grip on me and I watched the televised ceremony alone, thinking of my mom who is no longer siting with me and watching.

I would watch the emotion pass across her face. My mother married and gave birth to her first two children during WWII. Her first husband fought on the beaches of Normandy, and died in 1947 of a brain tumor that resulted from a head wound he received on D-Day. I wrote about her experience here.

I did not attend last year, as the Covid-19 pandemic limited services. We are still in the midst of the pandemic, but the availability of a safe and effective vaccination makes gathering possible once again.

For most, it is a day of gratitude for the previous sacrifices and ongoing service of our military community. It is a gratitude that was born in grief and continues to reside there. I cannot experience a Remembrance Day without gratitude and tears.

Every other day of the year, I am thankful for the service of the active members of the military who live in my community, and I try to remember to thank them when I see them. But today, is a day for grief over the loss of life and the ongoing wounds suffered because of active service.

I have not and will not forget.

I see you, and I am so grateful.

Here are some previous Remembrance Day posts if you are interested in reading more:

The 100th Anniversary of WWI Armistice

 My earliest memories of Remembrance Day

A memory of my mom’s during a friendly shooting competition with soldiers before they shipped out during WWII

As I did in my grade school days, I will stand, and listen to Taps, the bugler’s cry, and have a moment of silence, at the 11th hour, of this 11th day of the 11th month.

How do you pass this day of Rememberance?

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