Every year on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month we stand in silence to pay remembrance and give thanks to the men and women who have served our great country of Canada. Some have given their lives, which always makes me sad when I think about what would happen to me had I lived during a time when conscription came around or when men willingly lined up to serve. Could I handle S. Geek donning a uniform and going off across the world to come home or not? I don’t know, and this is why I am thankful to the men and women who have served Canada as a nation since our confederation they GAVE us the choice to live the way we do: FREE.
While my generation of my family has no military ties, my father was part of the reserves, my grandfather fought in WWII and my great grandfather fought (as part of the British) in WWI. While I don’t think that any of their experiences necessarily defined their identities (that I know of, I only assume really) I do think that you cannot be part of something like this without letting it alter you slightly. My maternal grandparents were in Holland during the occupation there as well during WWII, and while I’ve never heard them speak of what it was like I can understand why after reading about Anne Frank and visiting her house in Amsterdam which isn’t far from where my grandparents lived. It must have been truly horrific to live through something so horrible, and incidentally my paternal Grandfather was part of the troops that helped to end the occupation of Holland. A happy coincidence, in an overwhelmingly unhappy time I think.
Right now there is a ‘movement’ in Canada as there is every year it seems, to make November 11th a ‘holiday’ I think I am against this. I don’t think that kids should be off school for a day so that they can sleep in and eat junk all day. I don’t think people should be off work so that they can be at home and get extra yardwork finished, or catch up on to-do’s. I think that more places of business and schools should simply hold remembrance ceremonies or even encourage employees to hold a minute of silence.
At home with the kids I will be observing our minute of remembrance in my family room even though our national war memorial is a short distance from our house, I don’t think it appropriate to bring littles when they don’t understand the significance of the event and will likely be asking me for snacks the entire time. Last year, Nay was too little to understand so only Cake and I had our minute. I turned on the t.v. and told her about the wreath laying and then when the trumpets started doing their bit she sat on my lap and I told her to think about people she loved. I’ll be doing the same this year, Nay might not quite get it yet but I’m sure my little Cake will and I’ll encourage her to go for the whole minute if I can
she’s only three years old afterall! I think that passing on to the kids the idea that our military should be respected and honoured is so important, and I plan on doing all I can to ensure they understand why.
What about you, how will you mark the minute?
In Flanders Field
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.
John McCrae, 1915