Remembering

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Today is Remembrance Day here in Canada. In the U.S. it’s Veteran’s Day but it’s essentially the same thing. It’s a day where we stop for just a moment to think of all the people who fight for freedom and for our protection and to remember those who sacrificed their lives for us. I always take this time to not only thank all those I have never met and never will, but I thank my grandfather, Alan Richard Osborne, for fighting back in WWII.

My grandfather

Since November 11th is a very busy day for veterans the school has their ceremony on the 10th (though they still do the two minutes of silence at 11 am today) so that they can invite a couple of veterans to attend. Each class does some sort of a presentation for them, whether it’s a song, reading a poem, or doing a dramatic piece. I wasn’t there this year but I did attend last year and it’s the most moving thing I’ve ever seen in an elementary school. More than once I had to wipe my eyes and I would have been embarrassed but I wasn’t the only one. And the veterans were very emotional too, so I certainly wasn’t alone.

At last night’s meeting the principal told us that one of the veterans this year was a whopping 97 years old and after the assembly was over he said “I will remember this for the rest of my life” to which the younger vet laughed and teased, “well that’s not much longer at this point”. They were both moved though, and I’m glad that they come for the kids.

Today I found this video from the always amazing (and oh so very Canadian) Rick Mercer Report, a rant about remembering to remember. I love it.

Everyone has two minutes. If you miss the alloted time, apologize and take two minutes on your own. The most important thing is to just remember, to take a moment to honour those who have served or are serving now, and to be thankful.

And I know not everyone agrees with the different wars that are fought. I don’t love war, I wish it wasn’t a necessity, but I do think sometimes it’s just inevitable. Where would we be if we hadn’t fought some of the major wars in history? But it all comes down to this: I don’t care if you agree with the war or hate the war. I don’t care if you think it’s a sad necessity or if you’re a protesting pacifist. Whether you agree or disagree, I believe we all need to support every man and woman that stands up and fights. Hate the war if you want, but love the people who fight so hard to make sure you have the freedom to express that opinion.

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

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