They are among our national treasures, more valuable than anything hanging in our art gallery.
They are our Canadian veterans, in particular those who fought during the Second World War.
Unlike the treasures which hang on the walls of the National Gallery of Canada, our remaining Second World War are fewer and fewer each year.
With this being Remembrance Week in Canada, we encourage you to speak with a veteran. Their stories are real, fascinating and sometimes funny.
Above all, they’re accurate.
For generations which grew up with Hollywood rewriting history, we’re not getting a true depiction of the fight for freedom and the better world we all enjoy today.
While some veterans prefer not to talk about their war years, others are willing to pass along this knowledge to younger generations.
While most of the attention from Remembrance Day is focused on the world wars, our veterans extend to other conflicts including Korea, Afghanistan and Vietnam, the latter which involved over 100,000 Canadians at different times.
Many men and women served — and continue to serve — our country during times without conflicts. They never get the recognition they deserve.
Another group we often fail to recognize is the valuable contributions to the war effort by our First Nations.
The Okanagan is a region where attendance at Nov. 11 ceremonies is high and the support for the poppy drive is incredible. In Kelowna alone, last year more than $200,000 was raised.
Attendance at Remembrance Day ceremonies appears to have gone up over the past 20 years.
For those of you who don’t know a veteran, take the time to read about them in the pages of newspapers and magazines. Watch the television coverage from Ottawa on Monday.
Our newspaper publishes its annual supplement on the weekend which highlights some of our local vets. Please take a moment to read it.
And, in closing, thank you to all of our veterans for serving our nation.
James Miller is valley editor of the Okanagan Newspaper Group.