Say thank you to a living veteran, so they know the gratitude you feel. (Photo: Contributed)
Say thank you to a living veteran, so they know the gratitude you feel. (Photo: Contributed)

More than not forgetting

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On Tuesday, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we will be asked to remember those who have served our country, past and present. We do this in order that we may enjoy the freedoms we are used to having and in hopes that people in other places may have such freedom also. Remembrance Day is a holiday that is seen as more somber than most others, and I think more often than not we think of remembering past heroes and old poems depicting wars from history books. In Canada we are fortunate not to have been as close to the front as in some countries, but that does not mean we do not have veterans. It also does not mean that just “not forgetting” the horrors of old is the sole purpose of this day.

We all talk about wanting to make a difference in the world, about hoping that at the end of our days we will be remembered for some little thing at least that left the planet better for us being here. Soldiers who serve their country are most certainly making a difference and whether you agree with the nature of the fight they serve in or not, you have to respect their willingness to serve a cause greater than themselves. Most of us can take solace in knowing that if we make a mistake, the fate of the world will not change because of it. Such a burden on one’s soul is something more common in the battlefield, where life-and-death decisions can be a matter of course. I am grateful that there are such men and women in this world who are willing to stand up and fight for all of us in the belief that they are making the world a better place.

The reason I wanted to bring this idea to the column this week was that it occurred to me that gratefulness is not a passive concept. To be truly grateful, you need to show your gratitude. Taking time to pay tribute is a respectful act and it encompasses one part of the process, but I would like to remind us each to engage ourselves and do one simple thing: say thank you to a living veteran, so they know the gratitude you feel. They deserve to know you buy that poppy not just because it is the thing to do but because their work means something to you. My parents always told me you should thank people when they do something for you what better example is there than working to preserve our very way of life?

I don’t want our readers to think I am trying to encourage war rather I want us all to think on those who would sacrifice themselves because they are dedicated to the principles we live by. If a policeman stops a speeding car in a school zone, we are thankful. If a fireman saves our house (or even our treed cat), we say thank you. Do not the people who take on the worst case scenario deserve more than one minute on a single day of the year for their efforts?

I close by reprinting one of those old war poems I mentioned, written by a Canadian physician serving in Belgium in World War I. Many generations later there are many more fields in the world with poppies blowing. It is my sincere hope that if we must live in a world with conflict, then we need to show our gratitude and “hold the torch high”, as Dr. McRae says, not just for those who die but for those who serve and live as well.

In Flanders Field
by John McRae, written May 3, 1915

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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