NOVEMBER 11, 2013

An eerie quiet on Nov. 11
It is Nov. 11 at 6:30 a.m. Many Canadians are reveling during a long weekend, meaning they have an extra day to drink and recover from a hangover -- or at the very least, enjoy a day off of work.

I am in Winnipeg. My dad's 60th birthday was Nov. 10 so we had a big celebration Sunday night. Most of the family got to sleep in on Monday after spending the day going back and forth to family member hockey games, brunches and the birthday party at night. It was an exhausting day.

I am opting to head downtown where a couple national disaster relief organizations have call centres and are working around the clock taking donations for the typhoon that killed tens of thousands in the Philippines -- a storm that is said to have been the largest worldwide in many years.

There's a calm stillness in the silence of the morning here in Winnipeg. And while you are reading this well after Remembrance Day, I can't help but draw a parallel to the phrase "the calm before the storm."

There were times of uncertainty during the wars, just as the fear of a natural disaster hitting Asia. You prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Sometimes no amount of preparation can get you ready for what is about to come.

Naturally I wasn't involved in a world war, nor do I know anyone who was, so it might be disingenuous for me to compare a typhoon to a war to the silence of the morning, but it helps me (I think, anyway) to imagine what either of those events was like.

No birds, no traffic -- not a sound this morning as I stand outside. It's eerie given this day in history but what is also playing out on the other side of the world -- realizing at any moment the silence could be disrupted by catastrophe.

At the same time I can't help but feel proud and honoured that brave Canadians fought so I can enjoy the quiet of a sunny prairie morning like this one.

Am I doing something today to honour veterans? Indirectly, I think I am. I am stepping up to help people in need. Am I doing it because I have to? No. I believe -- no, I know -- that lending a hand during crisis is the Canadian way. Just as many of those who died in war did so because they wanted to serve, I am doing what I can to help.

Not that I often use this column as a preachy platform, but if you can assist with typhoon relief efforts, contact the Red Cross, Salvation Army or any of the relief agencies needing assistance.

And one more thing before the editors cut me off for going too long: Thank you. Thank you to the veterans, to the current-serving military personnel. You are far more brave than I and I salute you. It might be mid November already but thank you any and every day of the year.
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