An elder veteran (86 yrs) at my church stood up to remind us of one mistake we've made all these years. He said "our memory is imperfect, as is our remembrance."
Coming from a man who has given so much in the way of leadership and philanthropy to my community and has never spoken of the war or its affect on him, the words are poignant beyond compare.
Paraphrasing, he said "Every year, we pay our respects to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The symbols of war are about honour, bravery and courage. We forget that many came home. Broken and wounded, some with scars that were visible, yet many with scars that were hidden."
"Their lifetime of suffering has no symbol in our Remembrance Day services. Nor does the lifetime of suffering in their families. I stand here to tell you this now having never spoken of this anguish before."
"Listen now - life after war is also a misery - the soldiers who return are not whole. My father served in the first war, I served in the second. We came home physically whole but the darkness in our spirits is evident in the pain we suffered and the pain we inflicted through every day of our lives."
"Remember this now, for the soldiers who return home to us from Afghanistan will need us now more than ever. Help them, truly help them and their families. Demand that they be helped. This is our duty now. Remember those who fell and help those who return."
Remember those who fell, but cherish and care for those who return. We asked them to act on our behalf, now it is our turn.