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Remembrance Day: Yes, it still matters to us!

Yes, it still matters to us

RemembranceDayDisclosure

What does Remembrance Day mean to you? Depending on your age, the answers to this question could be quite varied. With the passage of time, the message of why we celebrate the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month gets a little more lost; at least this is my impression.

For my grandfather, Jack Ferris, who was a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II, his answer would be very different from that of my six-year-old daughter. And my father’s answer would differ from my own. For me, Remembrance Day is a day that I set aside to remember and appreciate the bravery that was exemplified by my grandfather and others like him. I take the period of silence seriously; I keep my mouth closed and my heart open.

For some Canadians, it means a day off from work; now we have even more reason to look forward to this day. So now it’s about accomplishing chores and sleeping in, and perhaps we get too busy to stop at 11 a.m. to pay tribute to our fallen heroes.

For children, I wonder if they just look forward to the fact that they get an assembly; time away from the classroom. Are they using the moment of silence to really ponder what generations before them did in order for them to stand in that very gymnasium? Or are they passing notes and eyeing their crushes? Are teachers and parents alike sharing the message loud and clear to those following us in the lineage that men and women fought and are still fighting to keep our freedom, our luxuries and our safety?

Do we see Nov. 1 as a day to start wearing a poppy, or are we focused on the next commercial holiday with the introduction of Christmas decorations and festive melodies in stores? Are we forgetting to honour these brave men and women; forgetting to remember?

WHAT DOES REMEMBRANCE DAY MEAN TO CANADIANS?

I was curious about how Canadians view Remembrance Day so I decided to ask. Here is what I learned in response to my question, “What does Remembrance Day mean to you?

It means to remember people who died in the war and so people remember the symbol of poppies to remember soldiers that died in the war. It’s important to remember them because they are trying to give us freedom and peace and make sure there’s no bad people anymore. – Little S, 6

Several of the people I knew from my combat engineer unit (I got out of the army in 2002) have been killed or really messed up in Afghanistan. I think about that all the time. Especially during that moment of silence; I get pretty choked up. – Brian MacKenzie, 36

To me it means my freedom carried on the backs of others; the brave men and women of our armed forces. Thank you! – Brenda Jeffery Doub, 37

Remembrance Day makes me stop and think about what my Dad and many other Canadians have had to face in their lives; things which I have not had to deal with. The day makes me think of our freedom, which we take for granted all year-long. – Roger Ferris, 62

It’s for remembering all the soldiers that fought in the war. At our assembly (at school) all the classes make a different wreath and someone from each class brings it up and hangs it up on something. During the moment of silence we remember and think about the war and stuff. – Ranger Martin, 8

It means how people lost their lives by getting shot in the war. We talk about why they did it and all that. – Cooper Martin, 6

Our siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles fought in the very firm belief that it was the only way to preserve the way of life they cherished, for their descendants and for people of other countries. Remembrance Day is a prompt; a reminder to us to reflect for a few minutes, on those who have stepped up to act on our behalf, and, for me, to be thankful. The pageantry and ceremony of services, and the tradition of wearing a poppy, serve to help focus that reflection. I’m glad we have this special day. – Wynn Downing, 69

Remembrance Day lets us pay our respects for those who fought to make our country free. It’s a reminder every year to help keep them in our hearts. – Daysha Christmas, 16

YES IT STILL MATTERS

Though only a small sampling, after reading these quotes, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve taken note around me and I’ve seen many men, women and young children proudly displaying poppies over their hearts. I’ve noticed commemorative wreaths displayed on the war memorials in my city and I’ve noticed that many “friends” on my social media networks have changed their profile image to that of a Remembrance Day poppy.

I’m concluding that in general, Canadians of all ages are enthusiastic about paying tribute to our country’s heroes and taking time out on Nov. 11 to honour these men and women. It’s good to be Canadian. And we are Canadian because so many brave men and women made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.

Lest we forget.

Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

City Mom

The Narooma Mystery

My friend Sarah, left, rides in a dingy out to Montague Island with the 'strangers'

My friend Sarah, left, rides in a dingy out to Montague Island with the 'strangers'

 

Since I began blogging over a year ago, there have been many doors that have opened for me; all very unexpected. I have continued to be amazed by the opportunities that have come my way. One opportunity seems to lead to another opened door and another new experience.  

Today’s story is a perfect example of these exciting opportunities and unusual happenings. It also reminds me that our world is actually very small.  

The Internet is a crazy thing and turns thousands of miles between friends into quaint coffee shop conversations. It makes never meeting your distant cousins into video chatting with them everyday.  

I was lucky to be asked to write a post on Canada.com for Canada Day. I was given the freedom to write about any topic I wanted as long it had to do with Canada. Immediately an experience I had over a decade ago on my year-long trip to Australia came to mind. And thanks to the Internet, my post was picked up by some interested individuals.  

I’ll summarize the post from Canada.com (in case you don’t have time to read it).  

I was travelling along the southern coast of Australia with two girlfriends. We stopped in at a tiny town (Narooma) to rest for the night. This stopover turned out to be so much more than we had intended.  

Having dinner at Lynch's Hotel in Narooma, Australia. This is the pub where we met the 'strangers'.

 

While having drinks and dinner at a small pub, we were approached by a group of locals who invited us on a snorkelling excursion they had planned for the next day. We accepted the offer and enjoyed our day immensely. After returning to land we offered to compensate our friends for the gas they had used to take us to and from the island, to which they refused. All they asked for in return was that we pay the deed forward when back in Canada.  

That story was posted on July 1st on Canada.com. Shortly after its publication, I received an email from a fantastic woman in Australia who is a producer for ABC in New South Wales. She wanted to share my story on their radio network. I accepted with excitement and I was on air the next day, live with Tim Holt on ABC South East NSW.  

And if that wasn’t exciting enough, I was contacted by another media member, Stan Gorton from the Narooma News, a local newspaper. Stan wanted to run my story (since coined the Narooma Mystery) and publish photos that I had shared from our trip all those years ago.  

We’re hoping to find out who those locals are, because you see this was before the days of Facebook and Twitter; I know, I’m aging myself with that comment. We didn’t get any contact information for our new friends and it would be so nice to catch up with them today through social media. I’d like for them to know what an impact that day had on us that day.  

When I think about the few things that I have been truly passionate about and amazed by in my life (next to my family), the two things that stand out are my year spent in Australia and my writing. To see these two passions join together to create another new and exciting chapter in my story is amazing.  

You can listen to the Radio Interview and you can check out the news article.  

Remember, should you come upon a visitor from another country, extend an offer similar to this and you never know, they may remember it decades later. Show them what your city is all about!  

City Mom

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