Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Novemember 11th is an incredibly important day. It’s a day in which we focus our thoughts on those who have fought for us over the years. It’s a day for us to remember that there is no greater sacrifice than the one made by the thousands of men and women who have served our countries. 

Rememberance Day (Veterans Day in the US) is observed on the 11th of November to recall the official end of World War I. It marks the occasion of the German signing of the Armistice in which the war was officially ended in the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918.  Nowadays it’s become a day in which we can honour all of those who have given up so much for the sake of others. 

I hope that each and every one of you can pause for just a moment and give thanks to and honour the people who have risked and lost their lives so that you can live yours the way you want to. Take a moment to talk to you children about the extraordinary bravery and boundless courage shown by our veterans. 

In Canada we have our own traditions for Rememberance Day, one of which includes wearing a red poppy. Poppies bloomed across battlefields during WWI and were most notably mentioned in John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields”

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.

Tomorrow I’ll be wearing my poppy and taking a moment to remember those who sacrificed everything they could while fighting for our countries and our families.

November 11th  also marks a personal day for myself and my family as well. November 11th, 1988 my paternal grandfather passed away from lung cancer. While I was only four years old at the time I do remember him, and I’m hanging onto the handful of memories as long as I can. I remember the time he made me a toy iron out of a block of wood and an old cupboard handle. I remember thinking that it was magical. I remember bits and pieces of what he looked like before he passed and I remember thinking that I was the reason he died for a really long time. I had a stuffed puppy (which now belongs to my daughter) with a zipper on its belly and a gel pack you could heat up so it would be warm at night. I remember it leaking on his knee one day while a bunch of the family was sitting out in the back yard of their house. I remember being terrified (until I was old enough to know better) because I thought that I was the reason he got cancer. I thought my stuffed puppy killed him. Of course now I know how silly that is, I know that his cancer was most likely due to a life time of smoking. Nothing like the mind of a four year old huh? I also remember his funeral. I remember sitting beside my Grandmother and asking her repeatedly why she was crying.

 I remember going to school for Rememberance Day assemblies and being a bit confused. It took me awhile before I realized that my Grandpa didn’t die in the war, and that the day he died just happened to coincide with the day an entire nation remembers our soldiers. The last few Rememberance Days haven’t been the best for me. I used to only see the day for what it was to me, the anniversary of my Grandpa’s death. I’ve been avoiding parades and memorials and even felt a bit angry that each and every year the anniversary couldn’t be forgotten. But this year it’s different. Thanks to my husband and his dedication to our country I’m aware of everything our military members have done for us.

This year I want to remember. This year I want to show my daughter pictures of my Grandpa and tell her the little bit I know about him. This year I’m going to tell her about our countries Veterans and how important Rememberance Day is. This year I’ve also come to realize that I’m afraid. Each passing year reminds me that when my Grandpa died I was four. 

 My parents were only 28. This year my daughter is 2 and I am 26. Each year that passes brings us one step closer to being 4 and 28. Now I realize it’s irrational, illogical, and pointless to worry. I do. But I can’t help it. No matter how hard I try I can’t help but worry that my daughter will grow up without a grandpa. I wish that I had more time with him. I wish that I was able to sit and listen to stories about life when he was a kid. I wish that I just knew more. I don’t want my daughter to miss out on the things that I did. The way that my dad looks at her and talks about her makes my heart melt. The way that she talks about him and insists I add him into every stick figure family portrait we draw is amazing to me. All I can do is hope that she gets to have more than just a handful of memories. All I can do is hope that he’ll get to see her grow up.

Whether you know a veteran or not, or are reminded of a family member or loved one, make sure that November 11th doesn’t just pass by like any other day. Make sure you carve out a part of your day and honour those who made it possible. Even if it’s just for a moment. 


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