It is often easy to take for granted our Canadian values and institutions, our freedom to participate in cultural and political events, and our right to live under a government of our democratic choice. We enjoy clean air, clean water, abundant food, peaceful cities and a whole lot of still-unspoiled nature on our doorsteps. Our children have opportunities for excellent education; we have superb health care and a rich and diverse cultural environment.
As a single woman, I am free to have adopted a child from another country, am free to support my family in the wonderful business of real estate, free to be friends with whom I choose, to belief in whatever higher power I please, and to move about independently with relative safety and ease.
There are too many places in the world where people don't have these basic rights and freedoms that I and all Canadians enjoy.
Too many places where the freedom to practice any religion is restricted, where people are arbitrarily and unlawfully detained, tortured, or killed for what they believe to be true.
Too many places where men, women and children face physical, sexual or psychological violence, where young girls are forced into marriage (or worse), young boys are forced into war, and as we watch our news feeds in horror - whole families are forced into boats to flee a home that is no longer safe.
On Remembrance Day, we acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who have stepped up to serve us all in this beautiful country Canada. And we give thanks. I am humbled by their service.
The Canadians who go off to war in distant lands go in the belief that the way of life enjoyed by Canadians is being threatened. They endure unspeakable hardships, risk their very lives for us, for their families and friends, for their home, for a country they cherish and a future they believe in.
Our pride for our country, and gratitude towards the brave men and women who have served us in the name of freedom shouldn't be limited to just one day.
By remembering their service and their sacrifice, we honour the tradition of freedom these men and women fought for and that we must continue to fight to preserve. It is up to each of us to ensure that their dream of peace is realized.
The brave men and women who go to war do so for Canada and all we stand for. We shall never forget.
Today and every day - Love Where You Live
Follow this link for a list of events and ceremonies to attend in and around Calgary this Remembrance Day.
Lest We Forget.
Home, by Warsan Shire
no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark.
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city
running as well.
your neighbours running faster
than you, the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind
the old tin factory is
holding a gun bigger than his body,
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.
no one would leave home unless home
chased you, fire under feet,
hot blood in your belly.
it's not something you ever thought about
doing, and so when you did -
you carried the anthem under your breath,
waiting until the airport toilet
to tear up the passport and swallow,
each mouthful of paper making it clear that
you would not be going back.
you have to understand,
no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land.
who would choose to spend days
and nights in the stomach of a truck
unless the miles travelled
meant something more than journey.
no one would choose to crawl under fences,
be beaten until your shadow leaves you,
raped, then drowned, forced to the bottom of
the boat because you are darker, be sold,
starved, shot at the border like a sick animal,
be pitied, lose your name, lose your family,
make a refugee camp a home for a year or two or ten,
stripped and searched, find prison everywhere
and if you survive
and you are greeted on the other side
go home blacks, refugees
dirty immigrants, asylum seekers
sucking our country dry of milk,
dark, with their hands out
smell strange, savage -
look what they've done to their own countries,
what will they do to ours?
the dirty looks in the street
softer than a limb torn off,
the indignity of everyday life
more tender than fourteen men who
look like your father, between
your legs, insults easier to swallow
than rubble, than your child's body
in pieces - for now, forget about pride
your survival is more important.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home tells you to
leave what you could not behind,
even if it was human.
no one leaves home until home
is a damp voice in your ear saying
leave, run now, i don't know what