Opinion

Thiel: Remembrance and gratitude will help you feel better

Today’s column is not about health, wellness or the latest trends in weight reduction. Rather, it is about gratitude.

Research has demonstrated that the most powerful emotion that we can have is that of gratitude.

It embodies appreciation, respect and empathy.

Today’s column is about our greatest natural resource—our veterans. They’re the heroes that have fallen and the ones who walk amongst us.

In the Second World War, we were one of the very few countries that participated in that war on a voluntary basis.

We not only had one of the highest respected soldiers worldwide but they were one of the best. Ever. Some 2.5 per cent of the world population died in that war alone, including 45,400 Canadian soldiers.

That was four per cent of our population at the present day. And that was just one war to speak of.

I have the highest respect for all of our war veterans.

When they enter my clinic and I find out that they’re a veteran, they are never charged a dime from that day forth. This is the very least I can do.

It amazes me when I speak with my veteran patients—their stories, their losses and all they’ve overcome.

Suddenly every day annoyances don’t seem so large. These are women and men who elected to leave a life of security and comfort and voluntarily put themselves in harm’s way for country.

That alone is truly remarkable.

I had the  great fortune of getting to know many of my veterans quite well.

They don’t speak of their experiences with a degree of bravado, but rather one of honour and respect. I’m a better man for knowing them.

Imagine, if you will, leaving your family, your job and risking safety warmth and your life as you know it by you own volition. The courage that must be taken seems almost insurmountable.

This is by no means another ‘long weekend’ by any measure. All that is asked is that we honor those who fell for our freedom.

I was surprised when I was speaking with one of my patients, a teacher, who felt that Remembrance Day seemed inappropriate, that it was promoting “war mongering” and therefore wasn’t deserving of all the attention it was getting.

She felt the energy should be more directed towards peace.

I think she’s missed the point. It is indeed not a day of promoting war.

It is simply a day of remembering those who fell before us and for us for peace.

Otherwise, we might be goose-stepping and speaking German today.

My wife gave birth to our son on July 18. On July 20, my wife’s cousin Capt. Richard (Steve) Leary was killed in Afghanistan. He was like a brother to her. My son carries his name today.

Respect the minute of silence. Respect those who fell before you and know that you owe them a debt that we cannot possibly repay.

It’s not a lot to ask.

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