Gratitude for those who serve and protect

The red poppy is an enduring symbol of collective remembrance that Canadians wear with great pride.

The red poppy is an enduring symbol of collective remembrance that Canadians wear with great pride. The colour of red symbolizes the sacrifice, blood, and our flag that represents all Canadians including those who bravely fought to defend the values of peace, freedom and the rule of law wherever necessary.

This time of remembrance is filled with ceremonies, tributes, and other ways to honour past and present veterans and their families. Each year on Remembrance Day, we say thank you to all those who gave their lives for our country and for our freedom. And it’s not just Remembrance Day — Veterans Week runs Nov. 5-11 and provides even more opportunities to pay tribute to the veterans who have courageously served our country.

This year there is added meaning to wearing a bright red poppy on the heels of the tragic events in Ottawa and Montreal recently, where two Canadian soldiers, Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent, were killed in separate attacks. We must all remember to be grateful for those who keep us safe and for those who have worked hard and have fought to have made Canada a model of democracy and freedom around the world.

We know and appreciate what a special place we call home, where differences are settled with ballots and not bullets, where tolerance binds us together and fear does not tear us apart. I want to acknowledge and honour all those who sacrificed so much then and also those who put their lives at risk every day to serve and protect, so we can live the lives we do.

Whether you choose to talk to a veteran and express your thanks for all they have done, take part in a moment of silence to recognize those soldiers that never returned home, or to simply wear a poppy – our promise is to never forget their sacrifice and duty.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.

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