Lest we forget...
Remembering the fallen. Standing by those who serve.
Together with people around the world observing Armistice Day, Canadians and those across the Commonwealth take part in Remembrance Day commemorations. At eleven o’clock this morning, Canadians and people across the Commonwealth collectively pause to observe two minutes of silence to honour, thank, and remember the Fallen and recognize the sacrifices of servicemen and women.1 Our friends in the United States commemorate Veterans Day today.
"I vividly recall Remembrance Day ceremonies growing up in Churchill Falls", says Mriya Aid's Melanie Lake. "I would try to imagine what things must have been like for those brave young soldiers who fought in the World Wars. I always pictured them in black and white... I pictured them huddled in their trenches in the cold and rain as shells exploded around them, waiting for the moment they would be ordered to go over the top. I imagined how terrifying that must have been."
2 And yet today, in 2022, courage, bravery and dedication is needed and it is starkly demonstrated in Ukraine's great struggle for freedom and the values we hold dear. "Here we find ourselves watching another war of aggression and defence against oppression rage in Europe as we remember what so many of our own citizens fought and died in the battles of WW1 and WW2," says Melanie Lake. Reflecting, she adds, "Instead of picturing those soldiers huddled in their trenches as artillery and mortars reign down, I’m watching videos of that happening today, in Europe, sent by colleagues I worked alongside not long ago (...) friends who now find themselves fighting on the frontline of democracy for all of us." The "attack on our values is deliberate, coordinated and sustained. We need to be equally unified and strategic in our response – unified both at home and in our alliances."
For many of us, every day since 2014 and particularly since Feb. 24 , 2022 has become a day of remembrance coupled with action. We think about and actively support those on the frontlines in Ukraine. Being able, through video and social media, to see and speak with the men and women defending Ukraine today helps us keep a connection with them. Together with Mriya Aid, diverse peoples from across the world directly support Ukrainian defenders whose sacrifices today protect our collective future.
Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, and Veterans Day as well as National Indigenous Veterans Day in Canada just a few days ago (Nov. 8) help us pause to remember but also to reflect on importance of increased engagement with our veterans and those who serve - and our role in that process. It helps us to realize that investing in our militaries is investing in people, in education, in a just society - and that freedom needs to be fostered and defended.
Mriya Aid’s commitment to support veterans and serving officers and their families is a long term process and investment in Ukraine and the free world. Recently Mriya Aid supported Ukrainian Veterans Fund, and plans are being put into action with partners in Ukraine to support the mental health and wellbeing of veterans, servicing officers and their families as the war continues and after Ukraine’s victory.
Chef Zhenya Mykhailenko described to Mriya Report listeners the process of planning & preparing food for Ukrainian soldiers - and what a world of difference love makes in the preparation of that food. Melanie Lake compared support that Ukrainian troops and other soldiers in the free world have to the hollow, careless attitude Russia has for its troops, and the immense “difference when soldiers feel cared for, respected, trust their chain and government, believe in their cause and feel the support of society.”
SELF-DETERMINATION and SOLIDARITY
Since at least the 15th century, poppies have been associated in Ukraine with blood spilled for freedom, equity, and self-determination. Poppies feature prominently in Ukrainian culture, and wild poppies grow across Ukraine while larger varieties are planted in gardens. In 2014, Ukraine rejected St. George’s ribbon, the Soviet Russian symbol of triumph over nazism, and formally replaced it with the poppy and the motto “Never again” - Ніколи знову.
Melanie Lake concludes, “We must stand with Ukraine and ensure they know that although we are not fighting beside them, we are firmly behind them. We must stand for our own values because so much has already been sacrificed in the quest for peace, freedom and dignity for all.”
They shall grow not old, as we that are left to grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.
We will remember them.
We are supporting them together.
Help support the defenders of freedom and life through MriyaAid.org
Mriya Aid is a volunteer-based Not-for-Profit sending non-lethal military and medical aid to Ukraine. Mriya Aid is a network of experts dedicated to helping Ukraine. It secures and sends medical supplies, non-lethal military equipment, and humanitarian aid to the frontlines where it's most needed.
For news on Mriya Aid drives, deliveries and activities @ twitter.com/MriyaAid
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The Royal Canadian Legion https://www.legion.ca/remembrance/remembrance-all-year/two-minutes-of-silence
Olha Bilozor Chumak, Lviv-Toronto, Маки, c. 1980
Crimean poppies, 1979 postcard https://www.jhpostcards.com/products/crimean-poppies-flowers-crimea-1979-ukraine-ussr-unused