Appreciating the significance of Nov. 11

More than in most other communities in Canada, people in the Comox Valley can appreciate the significance of Nov. 11.

More than in most other communities in Canada, people in the Comox Valley can appreciate the significance of Nov. 11.

With an air base that is the largest employer in the region, the Valley contains a higher percentage of current and former military personnel than most places.

People currently serving have no problem grasping the ramifications of their situation.

Some have served in combat zones. Some still are. Ones who have not are aware they might. They also have friends currently overseas, some in cruel, mountainous and hostile Afghanistan.

Of course, concern about our military people is not restricted to their comrades. The Comox Valley is full of spouses, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters of those who risk their well-being on behalf of their country.

There are also some among us who know the agony of losing a loved one who died while serving the rest of us.

Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School was named in honour of a Comox Valley peacekeeper killed in Croatia in 1994.

Cpl. Andrew (Boomer) Eykelenboom of Comox was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan while serving as a medic for the Canadian Forces in 2006.

His mother Maureen honours her son’s memory by remaining active in the Boomer Cap movement.

The caps, designed to help keep infants warm, are being made elsewhere in Canada, too. Like Terry Fox’s legacy of international cancer research fundraising runs in many countries, Boomer Caps are also being knitted outside Canadian borders. They are sent to aid newborn babies even in the country where Boomer was killed.

Maureen’s response to his death exemplifies the compassion and quiet resilience for which Canadians are known.

Even if you oppose war, pause for a minute on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. and silently thank the men and women who represent Canada with courage and dignity while serving the country we love.

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