Padre’s Corner: How do we remember?

HMCS Orillia (K119) as seen from the deck of HMCS Chambly (K116) in the fog of the North Atlantic. DND

Padre’s Corner: How do we remember?

By Capt Meg Nicholls
Chaplain, CFB Halifax

Throughout the year there are many moments which cause us to stop and give our attention to what has passed. From events like the death of a loved one or the anniversary of a personal tragedy, to communal occurrences like Remembrance Day or our upcoming Battle of the Atlantic commemorations.

The first Sunday in May is an opportunity for the Maritime community to remember the Battle of the Atlantic. We give thanks to those sailors and air personnel of our nation – to all who, in great or small ships, have braved the perils of the deep, and those who in flight have faced the danger of the sky above. The Royal Canadian Navy, while contributing to the destruction of 33 U-Boats and 42 enemy surface craft, gave to the struggle more than 2,200 dead and 33 vessels lost, while the Royal Canadian Air Force lost more than 900 aircrew. The Merchant Navy of Canada also paid a heavy price, with the loss of over 70 ships and the deaths of more than 1,700 personnel.

We can see the extreme toll the battle took on our country – maybe we even know of family members who lost their lives, or those who returned home never to be the same again. But what of us? How do we show our gratitude, our reverence and our respect? A moment of silence? A prayer? Listening to the roll call? These are just some of the examples of how we take a moment to remember. 

Maybe we take time with our families to help young ones understand, or we go to a chapel or place of worship to reflect. However you choose to do so, we must not forget the battles of old, the sacrifices of life, and the courage that was shown in the hour of need for our country and the world. I pray that we realize our responsibility to one another and to our country; to be ever mindful of the needs of others. May truth, loyalty and kindness abound among us this day and always.