Honouring Sacrifice

With all the hype about the Beijing Olympics still very much in the air, it would be easy to understand why the following words would conjure up the thought of athletes: patriotism, sacrifice and glowing light (of the iconic Olympic torch, right?)

But tonight, courtesy of a lengthy and descriptive recollection by my husband, the images of Canadian flags waving in the breeze and spectators standing three-deep are tied to something much deeper and infused with much more meaning than who can run or swim the fastest.

What Happened

Driving back from his parents’ home down the 401 highway, my husband began to notice that every overpass from Whitby to Scarborough was lined with people holding Canadian flags as well as fire trucks and police vehicles with their red lights blazing.

Additionally, dozens and dozens of cars were lined up on the shoulders of the highway, drivers leaning against them as if waiting for something- and clearly something important.

Upon arriving home, my husband learned that these people were waiting for the passing of a motorcade.

According to the CBC website, the motorcade was bearing the bodies of three soldiers who fell in the line of duty in Afghanistan.

What It Means

Hundreds of citizens had turned up merely to pay their respects to these young men who died needlessly half a world away in a senseless conflict. And it is a conflict in which Canada should not have become involved in the first place.

The citizens who lined this route may or may not support Canada’s role in the conflict in Afghanistan. But they came out to support the soldiers through this tremendously moving and remarkable display. The sacrifice and selflessness of those men has been recognized and appreciated and their memories honoured

May these young men and the many others—too many others— whose bodies have followed this route rest in peace.


4 comments so far

  1. Bonnie Dean on

    This is a very touching post, Abby.

    While I am still undecided about the role our country should play in Afghanistan, I, too, support our troops. One’s feelings towards the conflict are not necessarily synonymous with one’s feelings toward the men and women who are fighting there. I think many Americans feel the same way about the war in Iraq.

  2. abbymartin on


    Thank you. And thank you for capturing what I was trying to say, only doing so much more articulately and succinctly.


  3. Paul Cadiente on

    I have a Support the troops magnet on the back of my car. I have been called out twice by friends on the meaning of the magnet. I always have to say to them that it’s not a ringing endorsement of current events, rather an endorsement to those who WILLINGLY choose to do this for a career. Just like Firefighters, Police, etc…, they need to know we’re thankful it’s them, NOT US.

  4. abbymartin on


    Welcome aboard! And thank you for a very astute comment.

    Exactly right- no matter how you feel about the war, what these people do for us and the nation at large is brave, noble and honourable. We should be very thankful for them.


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