Remembering Our Heroes

From the Desk of Hazzem Koudsi, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Prince Edward-Hastings.

In today’s fast paced world full of sound bites and quick quips, the term “hero” gets used far too often. As a result, it can lose its luster and true meaning. It’s this time of year that reminds us of what a hero is.   

My first introduction to Remembrance Day was as a schoolboy in a small rural schoolhouse (Mildred Corke for those who are this old). All classes gathered in the largest room and listened to the trumpeted recording of Last Post, which to this day still brings a tear to my eye. The principal would tell of how Canada was instrumental in the war, and how so many Canadian soldiers died so we could live free from tyranny and oppression. We would spend time outside after lunch with classmates talking about how their relatives fought in the wars. As an immigrant, I felt lost as I was unaware what Syria’s role in the war was but knew there was a reason my parents moved us to the US and then Canada. It didn’t take long for me to understand the many reasons they made that resilient decision at their young age of 21.  

It is for this reason that I love Canada so much. My friends were still my friends despite my inability to discuss my family’s involvement in either war. It is the sense of commitment to a larger cause that makes what these soldiers did so impactful. They fought a battle on foreign soil so that anyone who wanted a better life could have it, anywhere they chose to live – like in the safe arms of Canada. This is the reason we stand at attention for a few moments. This is what I personally reflect on during that silence. The sacrifice of those men and women who fought so we could all have a better life.  

That to me, is the definition of a hero.   


Hazzem Koudsi 
CEO, Habitat for Humanity PEH