Rededicating Ourselves to Peace

Dave Augustyn’s Column for the week of 11 November 2018

Hundreds of Pelham residents took time to gather with local Veterans, members of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary, the 613 Army Cadets, the Pelham Fire Service, and others at the Veteran’s Park at the Fonthill Legion to commemorate and remember the sacrifices of Pelham’s Veterans.

Others also joined a nation-wide initiative called the “Bells of Peace” as they gathered at five Pelham churches – Holy Trinity, Fonthill United, Fenwick United, St. Ann Roman Catholic, and First Presbyterian. Each of these churches rang their bells 100 times at dusk to mark the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War.

This special year and each Remembrance Day it is right to remember those brave men and women who have served, and who continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict, and peace.

We honour them for their courage, their commitment, and their devotion to standing “on guard” for Canada.

Engraved on the cenotaphs throughout our Town and on the bricks at Veterans Park upon which we have stood for 10 years are the names of those from Pelham and area that were killed in service. May their memories also be engraved on our hearts.

The democratic freedoms that so many of us might take for granted – the freedom to express ourselves, to participate in cultural, religious, and political activities, to come and go as we please, to associate with whom we please, and to pursue a safe and happy life – are all due to the sacrifices of Veterans and those who serve today. They sacrificed their futures so that our future might be one of peace and happiness.

Yet, we must also recognize that war and conflict are man-made. They develop from traits inside each us and from our actions and inactions. War and conflict arise from those times when we have not sought justice, from those selfish moments when we have deadened our spirit to the needs and to the sufferings of others.

Instead of allowing those negative qualities to grow, let us strive to listen to each other with an open mind. Let us reopen our hearts to the needs of others.

Therefore, at this time, the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War One, let us be thankful. Let us never forget. Let us reopen our hearts to the needs and the sufferings of others. And, as we reflect on the “Bells of Peace”, let us rededicate ourselves to justice and to peace in our community.

Dave Augustyn served as the Mayor of the Town of Pelham and a Niagara Regional Councillor from 2006 to 2018. You may provide your ideas and feedback to Dave at daugustyn@cogeco.ca or check out his Dave Augustyn NOW columns at www.daveaugustynnow.blogspot.com.