We went to the Wetaskiwin Remembrance Day ceremony today. It was long - it's always long. But I didn't mind. There was some good stuff in there, and we are there to remember.
It is s good thing to remember the people who served our country. Especially those who died or were wounded in one way or another. I'm proud to tell you that I will have a photo essay coming out in "B.C. Studies" (a publication put out by the University of British Columbia) next year - an essay about my Great-Grandfather's WWI training battalion. I like to think that a big part of my work and interest in life is about remembering the people we were asked to remember today.
But as is often the case, the above 2 paragraphs are not what I want to write about today. I want us to remember not just the war veterans.
Something happened today at the ceremony. An elderly woman sitting two rows in front of me got up, stumbled toward the back of the hall and pretty much collapsed into people's arms - they sat her on a chair and after a while laid her on the floor. Well, I tell you, the fire chief, several soldiers, the RCMP, the firefighters and everyone ran to her aid. If there was ever a place to be sick …. this was it.
Everyone just focused on her, at any time she had five people right at her side and about 10 or 20 more hovering and keeping an eye on things. Within 30 seconds of collapsing into a chair, the fire chief had radioed for an ambulance. She was more taken care of than anyone I've ever seen.
Quietly and calmly, while the ceremony went on at the front of the hall, this woman was taken care of, cleaned up, and taken by ambulance to the hospital - and I would bet that most of the people at the front of the room weren't even aware that this happened.
So a huge big "Thank You" to all of those who serve in the military, our eternal gratitude to those who fought and died in wars to allow us to maintain our freedom and our country. But on a closer and more personal level, thank you to all of those people whose jobs are simply to take care of us. Thank you to the people who are there in an emergency, who run to others' aid. The ambulance attendants, the fire fighters, police, nurses, doctors, first aid technicians …. everyone who jump to and care for others. Because of you, we know that we will be taken care of when need be.
Thank you to the people at the hall today who kindly and carefully took care of this woman, cleaned the floor after a mess was made, and made sure she got the care she needed.