Every year, for a brief moment in the middle of November, the heroes of yesterday once again walk with us.
Every Remembrance Day, in the middle of a busy morning, we stand for a minute's pause and remember the men and women who fought so bravely on foreign shores to defend the values of justice and peace that we enjoy today.
On that day, in that hour, in those seconds, we remember, and in doing so, these heroes walk proudly down Main Street among us, the drums marking each step of their path. We are very much aware that some returned, but all too many sleep forevermore in the battlefields of war.
I'm reminded of one such young man, Ernest Boyle, whose memory I was fortunate to once again bring to life in a commemorative banner project organized by the Town of Saugeen Shores this past summer.
Ernest was a young man of 20 when he left his home and family in Southampton to take up the cause in the First World War. Three short years later, at the age of 23, young Ernest was killed in action near Arras, France.
I wonder, especially at this time of year, what he felt in that time.
Coincidentally, I visited Arras this past year, and was struck by the significance of the role that Allied troops played, as we drove past a cemetery at the edge of the road - a permanent reminder of the cost of freedom.
Our destination on that journey was Vimy Ridge. While there, I walked among the fields and battlements, imagining the conditions that these soldiers had to endure while they waited out a late-season snowstorm. I stood in the vast shadow of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, and ran my hand across the names of our Canadian heroes. In the presence of such a place, I marvelled at the fortitude, the strength and the determination that these young men possessed to accomplish what they did.
It is inspiring, and continues to inspire me not only as a proud resident of Huron-Bruce, but in my capacity as the Member of Provincial Parliament for our great riding, to encourage people to remember.
During my time in office, I've had the opportunity to support the Dutch-Canadians Remember as One organization, which worked tirelessly to see Princess Margriet of the Netherlands come to Goderich to honour the memory of 20 Huron County men who lost their lives in the liberation of Holland during the Second World War.
I've worked with community volunteers to shape some of the 551 poppies, one for each of the Huron County men of the 161st Battalion who lost their lives in the First World War, that were displayed at the Goderich cenotaph last year.
I try my best to always demonstrate my belief in the great work of our local community Legions, and those who continue to stand strong for freedom and peace. I admire my friend's son who has enlisted, and has left for training in Quebec.
While Nov. 11 began as a day of remembrance for the men and women of the Great Wars, we continue to remember all those who have lost their lives in combat since then, and the brave people who choose to serve.
We all remember in different ways, but what eternally remains important, is that we remember, 365 days a year.
As Remembrance Day approaches once again, I encourage all residents of Huron-Bruce to take part in the day's activities and remember those who gave their lives in service, as well as those who are currently serving throughout the world, in the name of freedom and peace,
Lest we forget.
- Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson
Lisa Thompson was elected Huron-Bruce MPP in 2011 and subsequently, in 2014. She is a member of the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Caucus and currently serves as the Critic for International Trade, as well as Critic for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.