A fair country, lest we forget

By Lindsay Advocate

Lt. John McQuarrie, a native of Argyle, in Eldon Township, and a member of the 109th Battalion of Victoria and Haliburton Counties, poses for the camera before heading overseas in 1916. Courtesy Ian McKechnie.

As autumn leaves descend, we recognize it’s the time of year when we prepare to pay homage to those veterans of too many conflicts who have defended our freedoms and endured the crucible of war.

Remembrance Day on Nov. 11 serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by courageous men and women, some of whom were profiled in our cover story. From the Great War to the Korean conflict to Afghanistan and beyond, they marched into the unknown, knowing only they were called to serve.

In our midst, locally, heroes emerged. Lt. Nursing Sister Dovie Matilda Mann, Lt. John McQuarrie, Col. Thomas H. Eberlee, Able Seaman Gordon Gibbins, Gunner Thomas Cook, and Douglas Louch —remind us of what sacrifice looks like. These individuals, along with thousands of others, left the safety of their homes and families to embark on a journey potentially fraught with peril.

It is a call that transcends politics, and yet being at peace does not mean being above the fray. Being at peace means we must question the kind of society we are building each day. And so, peace can be messy. It can be noisy, as we challenge each other to be better. A peaceful community (or nation) ultimately must be an equitable enterprise, though, for it to be lasting.

As former Prime Minister Lester Pearson once said, “Continuing poverty and distress are a deeper and more important cause of international tensions, of the conditions that can produce war.”

That statement was made many decades ago, before economic tensions and rampant inequality had taken root, as we know them today. On this Remembrance Day, let us come together, not just in solemn observance, but in a pledge to honour our veterans through action. That means building the kind of fair country we haven’t gotten quite right yet.

Let us ensure their legacy lives on in the nation we shape for one another, cherishing the freedoms they defended. Lest we forget.

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