This is a hard week for many veterans and their families. During training exercises, deployments and times of conflict, unspeakable things take place that are not readily shared. Although others may not know the exact details of what happened, please know that there is an acute awareness within the community of the cost of service, both to you and your families.
This week, Kristy fromSerenity Acresbrought in a bundle of letters written by students from theWest Hants Education Centrefor members of our Veteran community. We have included excepts below, copied exactly as written:
“Thank you for your service for our wonderful country. You are the reason I am able to find happiness and security in my life! I wish you the same happiness and security because you deserve it.”
“We see you. We hear you. We thank you.”
“Thank you for your serves!”
“I hope you know we care. We understand that you have sacrificed your lives for us and we are so thoughtful for what you guys and girls did for us. Lest we forget.”
“Thank you for allowing everyone to live in peace without too much risk of war. I want to let you know that you are not alone and there are support programs you can join to talk to for support.”
“At West Hants Education Centre, we have educated students about the sacrifice and service you have given for our country. You are an important part of our history and our current society today.”
“Students and Staff at West Hants Education Centre want to thank you for your service. Your unmatched sacrifice is why many people are able to live the lives they lead. Thank you, WHEC”
I am told that leadership is best exemplified through service. Our veteran community stands as a strong example of this, its members having unquestioningly put themselves at risk so that others might be safe. We thank you for the powerful positive role you have played in shaping this country.
Today we remember military members and veterans, both past and present.
Thank you for your service,
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Executive Director, Landing Strong
It was on the night of June 5, 1944 that Winston expressed to his wife that they were going to bed with the knowledge that by morning, 20,000 soldiers may have lost their lives.
He was referring to Operation Overlord, the biggest seaborne operation in history. An event that served to turn the tide of the Second World War as 156,000 Allied forces united to storm the beaches of Normandy in an effort to liberate the country from Nazi occupation.
More than 10,000 people lost their lives in an all or nothing gamble that paid off, but at tremendous cost.
Do you read the obituaries? I do. I didn’t use to, but since I have moved to our small community, I have a deeper sense of connection to those around me. I’m surprised by how often I recognize the names or families listed. Living in a small town, I’m more aware of the trials and tribulations of others in my community. When I pass the fruit and vegetable section at Sobey’s, I expect to run into an old friend who I would often see there, only to be reminded he is no longer with us. When I see fundraising notes and coin jars on the counters of local stores, I’m more inclined to donate knowing that I likely have an indirect connection to the face I see on the bottle. When our first responders pass by areas on the highways that mark the sites of accidents, they too are reminded of losses. Having grown up in downtown Toronto, I wasn’t used to that degree of connection.
I received a letter from my father last week, and for the first time noted a shakiness in his writing that reminds me of his passing years. I pray that those who reside on his busy Toronto street will keep an eye out for him, as I know we look out for each. Together we celebrate, grieve, struggle and grow. Growth, recovery and healing lies in the heart beat of our communities. Strength lies in connection.
In appreciation of each and every one of you who helps to make us strong,
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Founder, Landing Strong
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
On this Remembrance Day, I give special thanks to those who have made sacrifices in the name of our country and our freedom. Whether they went to war or were impacted here at home, it’s a time for acknowledging that there are many who suffered injuries on our behalf. Even after wounds have healed, invisible injuries continue to affect many military members, veterans, first responders and the families who support them. For many of us, Remembrance Day is a daily occurrence.
For each of you, we give thanks for your work and the sacrifices you have made in the line of duty.
Recovery isn’t about forgetting our experiences, forgiving ourselves for past actions, or leaving an old identity behind. Overcoming trauma is finding a way to live a meaningful life within a supportive community, despite the things that may have happened. It’s a way of living comfortably, despite discomfort.
Anything that evokes intense emotion can be scary because it makes us feel vulnerable. Love can be like that, but so can the harder feelings. Remembrance Day brings up a lot of emotion for many people. You may want to go to a ceremony because a part of you feels that you should. You may worry about who you might run into, about losing composure in public, or not knowing how you fit in. You may prefer to spend the day at home with loved ones. This is a highly personal decision, and there are no right or wrong answers. Whatever you choose to do, we hope that you do not do it alone. Know that we are there with you.
*The painting pictured above, titled Winter Poppies, was created by an incredibly talented veteran and artist Kelly Mitchelmore. She also painted the striking forest scene that hangs in our waiting room. (Please note, this image is subject to copyright)
Connecting with Belinda
Executive Director Belinda Seagram, Ph.D. shares regular blog posts to inspire you during your journey.