The 11th day, of the 11th month, at the 11th hour… Remembrance Day is tomorrow. To me, Remembrance Day is important. It is not just a day to remember wars of the past, but also of the present; not just to remember the soldiers, but also the civilians affected. Remembrance Day is not just about remembering people and events. It is also about learning what makes us human through the examples of kindness, empathy, hate and indifference that those people taught us.
Needless to say, I’m a teensy bit passionate about Remembrance Day… and I may rant.
Throughout the years of going to community services I’ve noticed a dwindling number of people my age and younger who are attending. I can count on my hand the number of people I know who can recite In Flanders Fields from memory. And while helping a student on an essay dealing with women in the war efforts (he thought women were recruited as soldiers during both World Wars), I realized that the students just don’t care. Perhaps this is because they haven’t had the experience of great-grandfathers telling them stories about the front, or sat through an assembly where war veterans made the history come to life. I don’t know. Perhaps it isn’t their fault at all, but our society’s fault for not keeping traditions. I mean, I can remember when assemblies for Remembrance Day became an announcement over the PA system in school asking us for a minute of silence.
Which is why I felt it was important to talk about a special poem that I feel is second only to the Canadian Anthem.
In Flanders Fields was written by Major John McCrae, a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, on May 3, 1915. After the battle of Ypres, McCrae, wearied by the death that surrounded him, sat for 20 minutes and wrote the fifteen lines that would be taught to children for the next 95 years.
For those of you who live in the lower mainland, here is a link to a directory that will tell you where services are being held and at what time.
For the St.George’s community, please see the school website to find out when the ceremony will begin.
And if you see cadets out in force, asking you if you would like a poppy…thank them for their dedication and show the world that you will remember.