November 11, 2013

We Remember

Today marks Remembrance Day, and across Canada people will be pausing to reflect and to remember the tremendous sacrifices made – both past and present – 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.  Many struggle with issues like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or addiction. Sometimes they share their military experiences, but many would rather forget.  Veterans Affairs has connected with The Mission in recent years and we can now refer anyone with a military background to the support programs available for vets in crisis.

People from all backgrounds seek help at The Mission, and some of them tell us that Remembrance Day has a personal meaning for them – even those without any military experience.   This morning we spoke with a few men willing to share their thoughts.

Mark and Christopher shared that their fathers served in World War II and both believe they suffered from PTSD as a result.  Mark says that back then it wasn’t something that was labelled or that his father spoke about or sought help for.  Instead his dad turned to alcohol, and the effect that had on his family was devastating. Christopher says his father never adjusted to family life when he got back from the war, and was more comfortable at the pub with his war buddies than at home with his family.

Another man at the shelter told us that his grandfather died in World War II. He never knew him but thinks of him every Remembrance Day.  He adds that for the past few years he’s made a conscious effort to watch the TV mini-series called ‘Band of Brothers’  around Remembrance Day and finds it very moving.

A minute of silence will begin The Mission’s daily Chapel service today, marking the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Like others in our community, we will remember.