MONTREAL – As bombs fall on Ukraine and the number of victims in Israel and Palestine numbers in the thousands, memorial ceremonies are taking on a special character. On Monday at Sainte-Anne Hospital we paid tribute to those who risked their lives to serve under the flag.
“They won’t age like us / Who outlived them / They’ll never know / The indignity and weight of the years,” recited Roger Lemire, himself a veteran.
Dignitaries laid floral wreaths in memory of those who died in front of about a hundred people gathered in the auditorium of the facility, now primarily a residential and long-term care center (CHSLD).
Since 1917, Sainte-Anne Hospital has welcomed and treated Canadian veterans. About sixty men and women who served in World War II and the Korean War still live there today.
Among them, Howard McNamara, 103, said he flew planes in North Africa and Italy for more than four years during World War II.
“Those who lost their lives in war deserve to be remembered,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press. He would like the story to be told to younger generations.
Nicolas Meunier, who served in Bosnia, Yugoslavia, Haiti and Afghanistan, belongs to a different generation of veterans that we don’t immediately think of at memorial ceremonies.
“Social etiquette is still associated with old wars because people don’t want to support war,” he believes. It’s difficult for us at the moment, but the system is changing.”
He traveled to the event to represent the new wave of veterans taking part in Canada’s longest military campaign, that in Afghanistan.
“I’m here to show that there are veterans right now who are hiding everywhere, in post-traumatic shock, in depression and who are young,” he said.
Mr. Meunier said he hopes to continue to improve the services offered to this new generation of veterans, as many of them struggle with complex medical conditions.
Over its 100-year history, Sainte-Anne Hospital has developed expertise in the treatment of occupational and war injuries and pain management.
Soldiers and police officers are still welcome.
Nicolas Meunier also wants to send a message to those who hesitate to speak out.
“We have resources, but because of a stereotype we are afraid to ask for help and seek what we have a right to. We have sacrificed our lives for a very long time, we have both psychological and physical wounds,” he shares.
The sound of the bagpipes within the walls of the Sainte-Anne Hospital serves precisely to remind us to think not only of those who remained on the field of honor, but also of those who returned and left a legacy have. starts with yourself.
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