By Yvon Lehoux
The Cloverdale Cenotaph is a power symbol.
This cenotaph represents Canadians who fought and lost their lives in order to preserve and protect our rights and freedom both here at home and around the world. Brave men and women answered the ultimate call to protect and maintain the interests of Canada and its allies. They fought in WWI, WWII, The Korean War, Afghanistan, and in peacekeeping missions the worldover.
Our cenotaph, recently rededicated when the “Kneeling In Remembrance” statue was restored to its proper place, also represents all past and presently serving soldiers. Many veterans and current enlistees made many sacrifices and endured much adversity while being deployed in all four corners of the globe. The veterans helped—and help to—establish peace and ensure that human rights and freedom can be enjoyed by all.
Today, many of us live with the psychological and physical scars wrought during our time serving our country. We willingly put our lives in harm’s way. As a result, we veterans hold a deep and personal relationship to both local and national cenotaphs. When we look at our Cloverdale Cenotaph, we forget about our burdens and reflect on our achievements with pride and honour.
Each year, Remembrance Day is a day to recollect all the sacrifices that were made and endured to preserve our freedoms. The day offers us a symbol of national unity, and is regarded as a time to remember that wars are tragic and are not the answer.
The Cloverdale Cenotaph, therefore, can also symbolize our Canadian example of peace, freedom of expression, understanding, acceptance, and respect for others.
It is only a small sacrifice to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies. It is a day of reflection. It is a day to pay our respect to all those who died for our country and to those who served and are still serving today.
Yvon Lehoux served in the Royal Canadian Navy for 30 years.