Each year in Canada, citizens gather to remember those that laid their lives on the line for our freedom. Some of those people paid the ultimate price for our freedom while others suffered untold trauma that they carried with them for the remainder of their lives.
It is with great pride that I share the story of a Drumheller man who has given a whole new perspective to what it means to honour the veterans who have come before us. Eric Dahl has had his share of hardships in his life but it hasn’t clouded his perspective when it comes to what we as Canadians have to be thankful for.
In spite of the wet and cooler fall weather, Eric has spent his days over the last month doing restoration work on military graves at the Drumheller cemetery, with all the care of a direct relative. Most of the headstones mark the resting place of people Eric has never met; many were casualties of war years before he was born.
His perspective is that of a grateful Canadian, “To show these veterans, to show veterans we still have alive today, that I do truly honour them, Nov. 11 is every day.”
The work is hard and tedious but that doesn’t deter Eric from lovingly restoring these markers to their previous glory. He said, “I am not going to stop. I am going to make sure that every veteran in here is taken care of. They are family. This is somebody’s family. It is not just a name on a stone.”
In honour of their sacrifices, we pause on Nov. 11 to remember the more than 116,000 men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our great nation. Eric Dahl has shown us all that paying tribute to our service people should not be a one-day-a-year thing, remembering them should happen every single day that we enjoy our freedom.
Regardless when they served, every one of our veterans have been fighting for the same purpose, they have all contributed to the peace every Canadian enjoys. Some sacrificed their lives, and some returned home changed by their experiences in the line of duty. Ultimately, all of them have been important in defending our freedom and liberty.
One of our proudest Canadian traditions is the many young men and women that have answered the call of duty to our nation. Their commitment to these values has been carried on by the brave young men and women that currently serve our great nation.
Heroes come in all forms, the work Eric is doing reminds us that heroes sometimes are those that show us the way.
“To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t have cared if anyone noticed,” Eric said. “I’m continuing on with what I’m doing for me.”
Thank you to all of our Canadian heroes who gave of themselves so we can continue to hold the torch of freedom high. And thank you Eric for showing us the way.