Several years ago, pundits were predicting the demise of Remembrance Day ceremonies. Yes, they would still
exist, but they would be much smaller ceremonies with fewer participants, and, of course, fewer veterans.
Fortunately the pundits were wrong. Remembrance Day ceremonies are holding their own. And, in some places, actually growing. For sure, there are fewer Second World War veterans attending ceremonies. That brave and honourable generation is now in their 80s and 90s and their numbers have dwindled considerably. But their sons and daughters, and their grandchildren have not forgotten, as our front page story demonstrates. In fact, many people seem thirsty for stories of such valour and commitment.
In a society that has few models of sacrificing oneself for others, and fewer still of risking one's life for freedom, soldiers' stories seem to be more poignant and precious than ever. Unfortunately, our government's treatment of veterans has not always reflected the respect veterans deserve.
Last week we profiled an Afghanistan veteran from Burnaby who is struggling with inadequate government support. His case, unfortunately, is not unique, and has spurred a class action suit. The government would prefer to give traumatized or physically injured soldiers lump sum payments instead of disability pensions.
Surely, if we believe veterans deserve honour and respect, they also deserve adequate health care, housing and support when they come home after putting themselves in harm's way for their country.