None of us born in the years since the Second World War ended are ever likely to see such dark days.
Though we've seen the Cold War, terrorism, and dozens of far-off wars, for the most part Canadians have been cocooned in a bubble of peace at home for nearly 70 years.
It's easy to forget that the war was more than grainy footage on a cable-channel retrospective. Hundreds of thousands of young men and women from Canada, and millions world wide, went off to fight and die. Many veterans are still alive and carry memories of Dieppe, Juno Beach, Sicily, and the Netherlands. Others recall the sound of depth charges dropping into the choppy North Atlantic, or the boom of anti-aircraft guns over occupied Europe.
Starting this week, we will again see members of the Royal Canadian Legion giving out poppy pins and collecting donations.
Wear a pin, and drop some money in the box.
The money in the Poppy Fund goes to veterans and their dependents, to help with everything from expenses to adding small comforts to a long hospital stay.
While the veterans of the First World War are now gone, and there are fewer veterans of the Korean War and the Second World War, Canada is making new veterans every year. Thousands have served overseas in Afghanistan, along with thousands more who wore blue helmets in peacekeeping, or who sat nervously on bases in Europe, waiting for a third world war that never came.
Whether you agree with some of Canada's wars or not, the poppy campaign helps those who have volunteered to put their lives on the line, usually for less pay than they could have found staying at home.
So wear a poppy, in commemoration of the sacrifices of those who have come before us, and in fervent hope that no future generation will be asked to risk their lives again to keep us safe.
@ Copyright 2013