With each passing year, the spectre of the end of the Second World War is waning.
As of March 31, 2018 (the last date for which statistics are available) only 41,000 of the million people who served in the Canadian military during that war were still alive. The average age of those remaining service members was 93, a year ago. Royal Canadian Legion branches are closing, attendance at D-Day memorial parades are dwindling, and among members of the generations that followed what has been termed “the greatest generation,” the relevance of such things are becoming more difficult to grasp.
In less than a week, we will mark the 75th anniversary of that day in 1944 when allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy ushering in the beginning of the end of the war.
Despite the fact it was so long ago and so far away, we must not become complacent because the forces of authoritarianism have never left us and they are mustering on both ends of the political spectrum. Canadians fought against this all those decades ago on the beaches.
It can happen again. It can happen here. It is happening today.
This is why it is so important that we do not simply pay lip service to the commemoration of important anniversaries, but understand what they were all about. Lest we forget.