Sixty-five years ago, in Deventer (Netherlands), a small boy climbed out of the cellar where he was hiding with his parents, and emerged into a new world. His hometown had been liberated by Canadian soldiers. The young boy excitedly approached the Canadian tanks parading through his street. As other people began to come out from hiding, the Canadians handed out candies to the Dutch children. That boy was my father, and it was the first time he had tasted a candy.

On this Remembrance Day, as I watched the ceremony at Carlingwood mall, I thought about the enormous debt of gratitude that we owe to our veterans. I feel this even more profoundly as a Canadian of Dutch descent, whose family wouldn't even be here were it not for the Liberation.

I feel it when I talk to my two cousins who both served in Afghanistan, and the husband of another cousin who continues to serve. And I felt it very strongly when I was working in Bosnia and Kosovo. I was aware every day that none of the civilian work I was doing in rebuilding democratic institutions there would have been possible without the 20,000 NATO troops around the corner who made it safe to be there at all. I remember celebrating Canada Day ten years ago at the SFOR base "Butmir" near Sarajevo with Canadian soldiers and feeling a rush of pride for the work that our country has done in stabilizing regions and building peace. I wish more Canadians could see it for themselves.

Remembrance Day is a chance to cross the generations, and find what binds us as a people. We all remember in our own personal way, and we all build on the stories of our parents and grandparents, which together make the story of Canada.

Lest we forget.