The next time you are stopped behind a high school bus, take a look at the students getting off- wearing earphones, joking with friends, or off in a world of their own. Now imagine them in an armed forces uniform. Young men like the late Clarence Munroe, Bailieboro resident Bill Bellinger and Centennial resident Ab Sinyard were young men when they enlisted – two of them teenagers, no older than some of these students. It is very hard to imagine what they were about to experience.
This month as we commemorate Remembrance Day, we honour the men and women who like Bill, Ab and Clarence, chose to fight a distant foe for our freedom. Whether their motives were adventure or service, they were unprepared for the horrors they faced during their war experience which remain with them for the rest of their lives. Because of their sacrifice, we live in a very different world than we might otherwise, enjoying freedoms that include the right to choose our nation’s leaders; the freedom to speak out and to work for the values that people like Clarence, Bill and Ab helped to secure. With these rights also come responsibilities: to continue to build a world of peace, tolerance and acceptance and to hold sacred those rights and freedoms that were secured at such terrible cost.
In our Remembrance Day Service we offer thanks to members of our Armed Forces including local veterans Bill Bellinger and Ab Sinyard as well as to the many including Clarence who stood beside them and to those who continue to serve today so that we may live in freedom. KG