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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest we forget

For me, Remembrance Day sort of started last night at running club. Admittedly it was strange to show up for a run when there is no clinic, and therefore no distance or hills or tempo or speed work to be done. I could just show up and run...not sure how I felt about that. But we all showed anyway, bearing food items for the Veteran's Food Bank (Shaw will be collecting at tonight's Hitmen WHL hockey game). We then took off on mass and ran across Prince's Island to this point. A memorial set up to honour those soldiers lost during the war, many of whom are still buried overseas. Kind of brought them home this way. Almost 1,500 crosses line Memorial Drive (hence it's name) and where all of us runners stopped first for a minute of silence and quiet reflection, before heading off for a run.

Because I had wandered all the way to the end, I missed the group taking off, so ended up running on my own. I decided to stick to the main pathway (it is pitch black by 6:30 nowadays) and ran just over 4.5km in 32 minutes. Legs were a little tired from Tuesdays squat / burpie-a-thon festival at boot camp, but felt good at the same time. Ended the evening in our usual manner, hoisting a pint at the local pub and having an all-right (not stellar) turkey burger for supper. Good thing the Guinness was up to it's standards!

Got up this morning and decided that since I live so close, I had no excuse to miss the memorial at Central Memorial Park, where the Cenotaph and Eternal Flame are.
This park had sadly fallen into disrepair of the years, and had become a hang-out for drug-dealers, addicts, street people, skater kids, etc. But this year the city poured a lot of money into it, making it brighter (more lights = less places for drug dealers to hide and do their biz) and building up the gardens and pathways to make it more inviting for people to come down and enjoy. Hope it works.

Quite a lot of people came out for today's memorial, which was nice to see. And it was nice to see all the younger people there, not necessarily children bundled up and dragged out by their parents. However, someone needs to explain to the boys (and some men) that it is a sign of respect to remove your hat! It wasn't that cold out. Oh, and all the Crackberries and iPhones could have been left at home was just an hour, people!!

The dignitaries made their speeches and then the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month hit. After silent reflection, Taps started. I don't care when, I don't care why...I hear the lone bugle and I lose it. While both of my grandfathers and one uncle served in the wars, and Mom's dad did pass away during (tuberculosis or mustard's up for debate), my family doesn't really have strong ties to the military, other than I am appreciative of the men and women who fought/fight for me to have the right to walk to a memorial on a bright November day and reflect the way I choose, not am dictated to.

After a little wandering (mainly into the sunshine to get warm), I left my poppy with all the others and headed for home. Almost lost it again though, when I witnessed a gentleman, probably my age, place his poppy, walk away a bit and then salute the Cenotaph. Tearing up just thinking about it now.

I was going to swing by Starbucks but decided to come home, have a coffee here and some eggs and toast (passed a breakfast place on the way that suddenly had me craving dippy eggs!) and then figure out the rest of my day. I am heading down to the Hitman game this afternoon to represent Shaw and help collect any food brought down to the game. All food collected today will go to the Veteran's Food Bank. Very sad that they fought for us, and now fight to not be hungry. Shame on us.

But HUGE shout out to the Shaw employees/friends/family and everyone, as we have surpassed one million pounds of food raised across Canada, and that is not yet including the match by Shaw and Campbell's (another 650,000 pounds!!). Awesome job, everyone. Together really is Amazing.

I need another cup of coffee to try and beat off this chill I have, and then make my dippy eggs. Hope everyone enjoys their day, wherever they are.


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