Yesterday was Remembrance Day. I made my first trip to Ottawa for this event and I found it to be a wonderful and very rewarding experience. A couple of my friends thought that in view of recent tragic events it would be a good idea to show up in person this year. I’m happy they took me along for the ride. It was a sunny and comfortable day with the sort of brilliant sunshine that reminds you to be thankful for such good weather in view of what is to come. Ottawa is a compact city but because of the river there is usually some issue about driving in or out. Yesterday was no exception. Although we left Montreal quite early we only just got a good parking spot in time to hurry on up the hill to stand behind the barriers before the ceremony got underway. It was as usual very touching and beautiful. I thought the Governor-General gave a very good speech. He talked about the actual monument and pointed out things that I never would have noticed or understood. The children’s choir and the bands did a good job. Princess Anne was short and sweet in her address, always a wise course of action for a Royal. I loved standing in the crowd and I think one of the most poignant moments was when the band started to play the national anthem. A man beside me started to hum quietly and then to sing the words softly under his breath. I noticed that all around me people were softly joining in. I thought it was so typical of our rather modest love of country to sing like that. I felt rocked by the river close by, by the distant hills, by the old Victorian buildings up the slope. Of course, I noticed the sharp shooters on the roof and a couple of guys with sub machine guns hanging around but the security was remarkably unobtrusive. I liked that. After the ceremony, after the bands and marchers had gone past us down the hill, my friends and I wandered unchallenged on Parliament Hill. I was so happy that we hadn’t lost our confidence, that we had come out in force and once again done” our thing” in Ottawa without bowing to fear or panic. Sure there is evil in the world, but there is much good too. We have to hold onto that conviction. In the fields along the road to the capital I was surprised to see many wild geese, snow geese and Canada geese, massing for their migration. I thought it was rather late and wondered why they were not on their way by now. Perhaps,they were waiting for their ” fly past” to honor bravery, duty, freedom
Patriotism, Lady, becomes you!
A very mild variety, fr. John. More of a universalist, I hope. But thank you. Yesterday was special
Remembering, and taking time to do so, is time well spent.