Tuesday, November 11, 2014

11-11-11

The flags are at half-mast -- the Canadian flag, flanked by the flag of British Columbia, and that of the United Kingdom. A modest breeze provides just enough energy to make the flags fly.

The same breeze is making the gathered crowd huddle into their winter coats a little more. The sun is shining, but the wind off the mountains is cold.

There is a larger-than-normal gathering at the Rutland Cenotaph this year, as was true in many Canadian cities. The recent events in our nation's capital have resulted in an increased awareness and appreciation for those who have served our nation in the armed forces.

People from all walks of life, and generations, are here. Paying their respects in silence to those who made sacrifices yesterday that allow us to enjoy a free country today.

The cold gradually seeps deeper into the bones, the longer we all stand here. Bright splashes of red are everywhere, between the Canadian flags and the abundance of poppies pinned to jackets and sweaters. The sound of the bagpipes is mournful yet somehow comforting.

The single bugle commands everyone's attention; the two minutes of silence providing mute testimony to the solemnity of the moment. Even the breeze has stopped; the flags now furled half-mast.

From the elderly woman who collapsed in tears when the bagpipes began to play "Amazing Grace"; the restless group of young guys who were there nonetheless; to the somber-faced children accompanying parents & grandparents -- we remember.

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