Tribute and Hope

Published November 1, 2010

In early October, I participated in the unveiling of the Memorial Monument to the Fallen Soldier at the Canadian Museum of Hindu Civilization in Richmond Hill, Ont. A gift of the Indo-Canadian community, this magnificent monument in the shape of a maple leaf is made of polished black and red granite from India. It weighs 15 tons and towers 12 feet into the air. Behind it soars a pole from which a large Canadian flag snaps valiantly in the wind.Addressing some 500 people gathered for the occasion, The Honourable Peter MacKay, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, spoke of the wide range of missions in which Canadian Forces personnel are deployed throughout the world. He paid a fitting tribute to their competence, courage and commitment. Among many other tributes was one given by the grandparents of a fallen soldier, Corporal Matthew Dinning, who died four years ago. Tears welled up as they laid a wreath in his memory. Then, in a spirit of profound respect, prayers were offered in a variety of faith traditions-Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Christian. A chaplain, Padre Cpt. Mic Grondin, prefaced his prayers with a few remarks conveying the gratitude of the Canadian Forces for this monument in memory of those who have made the supreme sacrifice. Then he quietly reminded us of the sacrifice made by the families of our Canadian Forces personnel. “To those places we are called to serve, they let us go,” he said, “with love and fear.” Sadly some are killed in action and so many more return home with missing limbs, post-traumatic stress and emotional scars they carry for years. As I listened to him, I thought of all the chaplains who serve in the regular and Reserve Forces. In deployment and in homecoming, in quiet and in danger, in joy and in sorrow, they accompany the Forces personnel and their families, providing pastoral care and spiritual counsel. It is fitting that this monument was unveiled on the 141st anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Ghandi, a date declared by the United Nations as World Peace Day. It really was a stirring prelude to another day we soon shall keep-Remembrance Day. On that day, we remember our war dead, we honour our veterans and we pray for all those whose life’s work is given to homeland security and peace throughout the world. We keep the day in the great hope that in the hearts of all people, the words etched in the granite of the Memorial to the Fallen Soldier will be fully realized.”Let us embrace each other, all hatred forgotten.” ΩArchbishop Fred Hiltz is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.


Related Posts

Skip to content