Joel’s Journal – 11/11/2015


I circled the crowd first, searching for the best camera angle.

I got there a little late and the trumpets and pipes were already playing along with O’ Canada, there were people everywhere.

The park and the streets surrounding it on three sides were filled. All the people were staring up at the cenotaph, a wide stone memorial topped with a bronze soldier.

Some of them sang the words to the anthem, others gave me disgruntled looks as I pushed my way through the crowd. I slid through a group of people as the song gave way to the moment of silence. Now, the only sound was the rubber soles of my boots on wet concrete.

20151110-_JJW0710People with bowed heads looked up as I passed. I hoped the MEDIA badge around my neck explained why I was pushing my way through and not that I was some disrespectful dickhead.

Making it to the front with the other photographers I looked out over the crowd, all their faces looking up at the stage.

Members of the military, navy and other armed forces filled the inside of the park. Standing in perfect lines, arms at their sides. Each of them stared straight ahead, their eyes giving away nothing of the emotions going on behind them.

I began to think about how many of them had actually been overseas. How many had lost friends? Almost lost their own lives?

Then my thoughts extended out over the hundreds of people packed around Memorial Park.

20151110-_JJW0686How many wives of veterans were there? Kids of veterans? How many were now without a husband or a father or mother?

It’s real easy to forget how good we have things sometimes. When the biggest thing I have to complain about is not getting enough work done, or not getting enough sleep because because of work the night before, or perhaps I don’t have enough cash for that thing that I want, but don’t really need, the realization can really punch your perspective in the face.

We have it good here, and it’s because of a lot of these faces I’m looking at right now, and also those without faces, those whose names are now carved into the stone on the memorial behind me.

So, the next time you want to get upset about your Tim Horton’s order being wrong, or gas prices going up, take a second to think it through, because really, your life isn’t that bad, and people have fought and lots have tied to try and keep it that way.

Never forget that.

Thanks for reading,