November 05, 2014

Remembrance Day reflections

We will mark another Remembrance Day this month. A day to reflect and remember the tremendous sacrifices people have made – and continue to make – to maintain our freedom and keep peace in our world.

Here at The Ottawa Mission, we occasionally see men staying at the shelter, or coming in for meals, who have been soldiers themselves and struggle with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder or addiction. Occasionally someone will talk about their military background and experiences but many do not and would prefer not to share those experiences.  Veterans Affairs has connected with The Ottawa Mission in recent years and we can now refer anyone with a military background to the support programs that have been set up to help vets in crisis.

People from all walks of life seek help at The Mission and some of them tell us that Remembrance Day has personal meaning for them, even though they do not have military experience. Robert has been staying at The Mission for a few days, struggling to find work and get back on his feet. Remembrance Day actually makes him reflect on his grandmother’s life. “My grandmother remembered the First World War as a young child and then lost her husband in the Second World War and had to raise 3 children on her own for a few years,” says Robert. “She always told me Remembrance Day was an important but very sad day for her.  Now that I’m older I have a better understanding of how she must have struggled. So I try to remember that even though my problems seem big, my grandparents sacrificed a lot for our country and our freedom. Remembrance Day is very important to me.”

A minute of silence will be observed during The Mission’s daily Chapel service on Remembrance Day, marking the 11th hour of the 11th  day of the 11th month. We will remember.