In fact, "Honor Guards" stood watch at our local cenotaph throughout the night in preparation for today's "Act of Remembrance." They stood cold and alone in the dark so nobody could try any funny business. They were there to show honor... and ensure that maximum honor could be shown in the morning. To honor, stay sharp and stand guard when you don't see any assailants takes faith. But chosen honor does that in a man.
I love watching soldiers march as one like the bewitching syncretism of fine clockwork. But seeing them function as one is even more beautiful. In the lower right corner of the above picture, you'll see two members of Brantford's Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. Before today's ceremony the young'un on the right, positioned in the front row, began to cry. Watching my own daughter weep on my lap watching WWII clips on YouTube the day previous, followed by a funeral of a close friend who died tragically at the age of 31... I know that the possible reasons were plentiful. But there was a job to do.
I observed from behind as the leader beckoned the young Cadet the back lines to stand beside her. The well-formed lines opened systematically and enveloped the emotional cadet backward. They then reformed seamlessly without her. She was firmly but compassionately given a moment to regroup and regain breath. Leaving the post was clearly not an option. I'm sure it was a temptation through. Even if it was just a ceremony in a cold, wet Brantford November... this soldier was not leaving the battle. It was not long before the cadet was returned to the front line and bravely stood honorably.
Too few of us learn to stand with honor, chin up, upper lip vigilantly stiff through adversity.
There was a song called "Remembrance" sung that contained a lyric that's captured my imagination tonight. It said:
"Show us, O Father, how we best can serve
A world to live by faith and not by nerve"
I'm not sure actually which way 'nerve' was meant to be taken, but there is a lesson in both.
- We should never serve our world via the thin, sensitive parts of ourselves where a minor exterior inconvenience can lead to involuntary human spasms. We'd never be able to stand guard through the night. And our cities NEED people who will stand strong on the cold days for others.
- We also should never trust completely in our own ability to stand courageously and definitely through the long nights. Even the strongest of men need faith to fully empower them to know WHY they are standing and the reminder that they CAN keep it up.
I was thrilled to reacquaint myself with Brantford's Corporal Ken Galbraith, whom I went to elementary school with and today proudly SERVES with honor. I salute him and our servicemen at home and abroad today. Today... good men and women of Brantford... let us serve our city and neighbors with courage, fortitude, enduring consistency... and honor.