How to look at 2020 and feel fortunate.

November 11

Most Albertans will be happy to see 2020 in the rear-view mirror. The pandemic, its economic toll, falling oil prices… it’s been like a play list curated by the clown from “It.”

But with Remembrance Day approaching, there is one thing that can make us all feel grateful: we live in peacetime.

To most Canadians, war is an abstract concept. Only our service people who have been posted to combat zones and people who have immigrated to our country to escape violence have a genuine appreciation of its destructiveness.

During the First World War (1914-1918), Canada had just under eight million people. Six hundred and twenty thousand enlisted in our military for service overseas. That’s eight per cent of the population. There wasn’t a Canadian street that didn’t have a resident overseas in perilous conditions.

233,000 Canadians were killed or wounded during the war. Many more returned from the battlegrounds with psychological trauma that went undiagnosed until the modern era. So as 2020 comes to an end, there are indeed reasons to be grateful. Foremost among them is that Canadian families are not being torn apart by armed conflict.

So as you pin a poppy to your collar, consider this: members of the Canadian Armed Forces are the only workers in Canada who can legally be ordered into harm’s way. As the saying goes, when everyone else is running away from danger, they are running toward it.

On Wednesday, the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour, we will observe two minutes of silence for all those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today. Two minutes is not enough to commemorate their service. But it is enough to realize how fortunate we are.