Column: Lest we forget

Remembrance Day is not simply a day to remember the fallen, but to thank those who choose to risk their lives for the advancement of peace

Chief Jim Cessford

Every November 11th, representatives from Delta Police, Delta Fire, and RCMP participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies in both North and South Delta.

The importance of this day cannot be overstated; we stand in honour of the fallen who sacrificed their lives protecting our Canadian values and freedoms. These ceremonies are often held in inclement weather with wind, rain, snow and cold temperatures that make the day uncomfortable for everyone in attendance.  I remind myself that those who choose to serve this country, particularly those who serve abroad, are forced to persevere through extreme elements for extended periods of time knowingly placing their lives at risk. I think about the physical and emotional scars left in the hearts, minds and bodies of those men and women and I quickly dismiss the discomfort of the cold November weather.

Delta resident John Dutton served in the Canadian military for 35 years, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer with the United Nations. His father and uncles served in World War I, and his formative teenage years were influenced by World War II. It is no surprise that he found his way into a military career where he experienced a number of armed conflicts.

As a United Nations peacekeeper, Mr. Dutton served in many countries, including Cyprus, Egypt and Syria in the late 1960s and 1970s. He witnessed the deaths of many UN peacekeepers during his tours of duty and he experienced violence that most Canadians would find difficult to comprehend. In Mr. Dutton’s words, “Remembrance Day is a time to remember the soldiers who sacrificed their lives to maintain the standard of living and peace we enjoy as Canadians. It is quite simple for us to take a few moments to honour them.”

As I see it, Remembrance Day is not simply a day to remember the fallen, but to thank men and women like Mr. Dutton who choose to risk their lives for the advancement of peace in a world of conflict. It is also a day to remember the innocent victims of war: children who did not ask to be born into conflict and mothers and fathers who risk their own lives to protect them.

Canada has a long and proud military history. To all the men and women who have chosen to serve this country, I thank you. You believe in making a difference in the world and you recognize the power of one in the collective vision of peace on earth.

Please take the time on November 11th to remember those that have sacrificed their lives, those that return home with deep scars, and the innocent victims who have only known conflict in their lives.

Lest We Forget.

Jim Cessford is the chief of the Delta Police Department and has spent more than 40 years in law enforcement.



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