Today marks Remembrance Day in many countries around the World. To me is a day that is significant for many reasons. The primary one is that it marks the armistice of what was dubbed the war to end all wars. Unfortunately this was not the case as devastating wars continue in countries around the world. But we still pause to remember on this day the brave sacrifices made by the men and women who left their homes and loved ones.
To me, the day holds special significance as my grandfather, Art Dalziel was one of those who rose to the challenge and fought on the battlefield in the Second World War. He rarely spoke about his experiences but he never missed attending the Remembrance Day ceremony as I was growing up. I was always proud to accompany him to the cenotaph to place his cross in remembrance of those never made it home. It was a solemn walk and one filled with emotion. He was always and still in my heart, a hero.
In his final years as aging was taking its toll on him, I would sit with him at night in his room at Whisper Wood Villa and calm him from his night terrors as he slipped into a time long past. I lived moments with him that had never been disclosed before. While he rarely spoke about his war experiences to his family and friends the horrors of war and the choices that came with it were always with him. As he aged those memories could no longer be repressed. Even a strong man needs comfort and to be told that everything is going to be okay. There were many evenings during the last years of his life that I sat beside his bed so that I could hold his hand and soothing him back to sleep. This was such a small way for me to honour all he had sacrificed and the price that he paid.
While many people complain about the weather that often occurs on November 11, cold and rain even snow are not uncommon. You will never hear a veteran of the First or Second World War complain about the weather as they honour their fallen comrades. Having lived in France, I personally know what the weather can be like in Northern Europe during the fall and winter. I can imagine the conditions that these men endured as they huddled in their trenches, sometimes chest deep in cold and muddy water. For our veterans who lived in extreme conditions and environments that the majority of us can not even begin to imagine, an hour or two on a November 11 is no hardship.
So today I hope that you will stop to pause and mark Remembrance Day. And I ask you to not complain about the weather or having to take the time to do so as so many men and women answered the call and sacrificed their lives so we can surely sacrifice at least two minutes to pay them respect. There will be no ceremony for me to attend in Botswana but as I always do on Remembrance Day regardless of where I am, I stop and remember at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the sacrifices made by so many that allow me to enjoy the peace, security and freedom that I do today.