My father went to war 80 years ago with thousands of other men and women to bring us the freedoms we have today. These heroes deserve not only to be remembered, but to be honoured as well. That’s why Remembrance Day is a big deal.
Remembrance Day isn’t just for veterans to get together and reminisce. It’s a day for the rest of us to recognize and honour the selfless sacrifices made by those heroes who put their lives on the line.
The smallest act of honouring is to wear a poppy. That is something everyone can do. It really doesn’t matter how old or young you are. This simple act shows you recognize the importance of the day.
This is also a great way to have a conversation with your younger kids about Remembrance Day. Don’t just pin a poppy to your little one’s lapel. Explain the significance of the little red flower. Read the poem, In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae. Talk to them, ask them questions and encourage their natural curiosity. There’s thousands of stories about these terrible times that don’t have to be frightening or disturbing. Stories of courage, sacrifice and personal conviction.
This is why Remembrance Day is a big deal. It is a day that helps us bridge generations. It is a day when wizened veterans sit in classrooms and school gymnasiums around the world and share personal stories, and answer the questions from the clusters of youngsters seated about.
Stop What You Are Doing
Every Remembrance Day in Canada, November 11, at 11 AM, everyone stops what they are doing, and observes a moment of silence. EVERYONE. If you’re out and about, running errands or shopping, take that moment and stop. If you’re at work, for those that must still work on this National holiday, stop what you’re doing, and take that moment to consider what this day means. Remembrance Day is not simply a day off work or school. It is a solemn holiday, not a time for celebrating. For me, it’s a time of reflection. I think about my parents, who married during wartime.
Their marriage started with sacrifice, as they were separated for months right after the ceremony. And I think about my Dad, who joined the Navy and served much of World War II on a Corvette in the North Atlantic and Pacific. A prairie boy who was suddenly sent to the sea, hunting subs and trying not to freeze to death or drown.
It Is A Big Deal
My children have grown up in a household that honours Remembrance Day. They too, know that Remembrance Day is a big deal. From participating in assemblies at school, to marching in local parades and Cenotaph ceremonies, my kids understand the significance of the day. Today I was reminded of their commitment to Remembrance Day.
Yesterday evening I overheard my daughter Beth-Rose discussing plans for today. She was getting a ride to a friend’s house to work on a school project. No big deal, but she was going over at 7 in the morning. Surprised, I asked why she would go so early on a holiday to work on a school project. She said, “So I can be home in time.” “In time for what?”, I asked. “The Remembrance Day ceremony,” she replied. She wanted to be sure she was home in time to watch the ceremony, and honour the moment of silence. My 14 year-old daughter!
I’m thrilled knowing that my children take the responsibility of honouring our veterans so seriously. I would love to see more parents of young kids find a way of instilling that responsibility in their own children. It’s important. Because Remembrance Day is a big deal.
In Flanders Fields BY JOHN MCCRAE In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.