When I was 6, my mother pinned a poppy on my chest and took me to the Butter Dome, where she told me about how the old men there had fought overseas to protect us.
When I was 10, my father told me about my four great-uncles and my grandfather who had been on, above, and around the Normandy beaches on June 6th, 1944.
When I was 16, I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. There, I saw empty canisters of Zyklon B, human hair, and the eye glasses worn by the victims of the Nazi “Final Solution.”
When I was 17, I visited Juno Beach. It was an ordinary beach. Nothing betrayed the fact that tens of thousands of ships had discharged their cargo of young men upon it nearly 70 years earlier.
When I was 19, I realized that I was older than my uncles when they enlisted.
This year, when I stand at City Hall in the bitter cold, I will think of the sacrifices made by generations of Canadians to preserve the lives and liberties of people around the world. I will think of the Serbian Civilians protected by the Canadian Forces in 1993, the Afghan girls who are receiving an education because of our troops, and I will think of the Netherlands, liberated by the effort of the First Canadian Corps in 1945. Most importantly, I will think of those members of the Canadian Forces who did not come home. I will think of the Canadians- the brothers, the husbands, and the sons- who lay in cemeteries across Europe where poppies grow.
Finbarr Timbers is a third year Economics/Mathematics student. He is currently enjoying the unfortunately titled book All in, by Paula Broadwell.