Editorial: Honour the living

Each year on Remembrance Day we honour those who have lost their lives fighting our country’s battles.

Some gather at the cenotaph at Dwight Hall to pay honour to soldiers’ courage, others simply wear poppies on their lapels as a silent tribute. Many use the day to reflect on their hope for peace and hatred towards war.

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But in this reflection and reverence for those lost in battle, too often we forget the men and women soldiers that are still here with us. Throughout the community are veterans and current members of the Armed Forces who have returned from war, whether it be Afghanistan, Iraq or more recent international engagements such as Bosnia or Syria.

These brave citizens are often suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance-abuse problems, poverty and depression, and are in desperate need of our help.

A 2013 Statistics Canada survey of thousands of Canadian soldiers found that PTSD among

members of the Canadian Forces had nearly doubled since 2002.

Sunshine Coast Health Center treats these heroes every day, providing them with much-needed counselling and recovery techniques in an effort to reintegrate them into civilian life.

Tragically, a number of Canadian veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental afflictions as a result of their duties in war ultimately end up committing suicide. It’s estimated that over 50 Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan alone have taken their own lives since returning from the war.

So much money and resources are put into training soldiers for war, it’s a shame the same could not be said for their recuperation when they return home.

Men and women who have fought in our country’s name deserve our help and understanding; they are now fighting their own battles after selflessly fighting ours.

Ceremonies and vigils for fallen soldiers are vitally important for healing the wounds of war while generations of families still deal with unfathomable loss. However, Remembrance Day should also be about recognizing and supporting our recent veterans and current soldiers who are still here, and ensuring they get the the help they need.

On Remembrance Day, let us not forget the veterans still living among us, for in their esteemed presence we still have the chance to properly thank and honour them.

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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