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  • Mike Donoghue

N'Oublier Pas - Lest We Forget.

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

Does anyone think it is a little strange that each year on October 11th, we sit around a table and bring our nearest and dearest close to us to celebrate and give thanks for the freedoms we have been given? In many families, we make it a tradition to say what we are grateful for and this gratitude ranges from our health, prosperity, to the good fortune of friends and family, and many other things that living in a free and relatively secure community grant each of us.

A month later, on November 11th, there is a more sombre ceremony than Thanksgiving that calls on all of us who were granted the good fortune, to spend time and reflect on the sacrifice that our mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, and great grandmothers and grandfathers gave selflessly; to ensure the future we enjoy today.

Originally called Armistice Day it was combined with the Thanksgiving holiday until 1931 when it was decreed by the federal government that Remembrance Day be observed on November 11th and Thanksgiving be moved at the request of veterans to honour the fallen instead of the events that brought an end to the First World War.

I make this comparison perhaps, because of conversations I have overheard or been involved with these past 18 months; about freedom of choice and freedom of speech, because these conversations have caused me to reflect on what gratitude and being grateful actually means. We all feel that at times, we have a tough time of it, and I wouldn’t dispute the hardship people are experiencing. I would however suggest that by comparison, the hardship of the fallen soldiers and the veterans, needs to be a lens to view our own hardships and in doing so, reflect a certain amount of gratitude and take some time to remember them on November 11th.

After all, it is amazing what gratitude brings with it, a few of the benefits are: improved psychological health; the reduction of toxic emotions such as resentment, frustration, aggression, and increases in empathy and resilience. Overall, gratitude gives us stronger mental health, which helps to reduce stress and improve physical health.

Perhaps it is because my journey and experiences have brought me to a place that I now recognize; I haven’t taken sufficient time in a busy life, to express gratitude and to take time out to recognize the sacrifice that others have made. So, this year I will be taking those two minutes at 11 o’clock on the 11th of November to reflect on what it took to have the freedom I have today and be thankful to those who gave their lives to ensure it.

I appreciate we all have so much to do, and so little time. Although, perhaps two minutes could be the start of something better.

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