On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we mark Remembrance Day.
This year, Nov. 11 falls on a Sunday. This year, it also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
One hundred years. That was supposed to be the war to end all wars. It was a filthy, trench-based war where pounding artillery left the fields of combat looking more like the surface of the moon than the formerly beautiful French and Belgian countryside.
Machine guns controlled the battlefield, and frontal assaults were often akin to suicide. Canadian troops would follow creeping artillery barrages that would move ahead of the troops and grind up enemy positions, or at least force the enemy to keep their collective heads down.
It was the war where Canada emerged as a nation, taking or holding ground where other Allied troops could not.
The Germans unleashed Mustard Gas on Canadian troops at the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915. Where French troops fled, Canadians held, despite suffering casualties.
Two years later, in the spring of 1917, Canadian troops were tasked with attacking Vimy Ridge. Where other Allied troops had failed, we triumphed.
And when the British floundered near Passchendaele that October, Canadian troops were called in. They took the area, but at the cost of nearly 16,000 dead or wounded.
Overall, the First World War was the bloodiest conflict in Canadian history. Nearly 61,000 Canadians died fighting the Germans.
They died defending our freedom in a horrendous war. The very least we can do is to honour their ultimate sacrifice by attending various Remembrance Day events around the municipality, or if you can’t get there, to mark the day with a moment of silence at home.
Unfortunately, many will treat Nov. 11, 2018 as just another Sunday, a workday for some, a day of rest for many others.
Too many take our freedom for granted, or casually wave off the fact hundreds of thousands fought for it in both world wars.
But the First World War, fought nearly 100 years ago, should not fade from memory.
Lest we forget.