Remembrance Day is to me is kind of like a holiday you shouldn’t feel excited for. It isn't meant to or designed to have a mascot or special candies and stuff like. Remembrance Day is a day where we all look back on the tragedy of war on the day of the triumph of that war.
Remembrance Day is an event held on November 11th every year. It marks the day when the Allies (Which included Britain, France, Russia, Canada and the U.S) won World War 1 against the Central Powers (Which included Germany, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria).
Unfortunately with all major conflicts like this one, the Allies lost many soldiers in the action, totalling around 6 million. Of that 6 million, 61,000 were Canadian, and 172,000 left wounded. These men and women helped to shape the future that we live in today in exchange for their services, we have to honor their legacy in any way we can. That is why we celebrate Remembrance Day, to give back to those that gave so much to us.
We celebrate on this day with some sort of parade or gathering, wear a poppy pin on your shirt, and give a moment for a minute or so at exactly 11AM.
One of the fascinating things about this day is that World War 1 ended at 11AM on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, explaining why it’s held on November 11th, but also is a pretty interesting coincidence to think about. One of the greatest things about Remembrance Day is how it is represented in our school programs.
For example, our very own Good Spirit School Division had a gathering at Columbia School (My old school) for Remembrance Day. We were supposed to dress up in formal clothing when we attended school, and we met up for a student assembly in the gymnasium.
I think in grade 8 my classmates and I got to sit in chairs that year, but most years we just sat on the floor like we always did at the assemblies. How this works is there's a line going straight through the crowd that goes down to a table almost resembling a shrine at the front. One guy and one girl from each grade took turns carrying a box full of donated money from students in their class. The money from those donations goes towards the armed forces and different parts of the community to make things better. When all of us are seated, a bagpipe is played from outside the gym and members of the Legion Colour Party walk in, four of them holding flags, and one playing the bagpipes. The Principal introduces them and then give some sort of speech. Then we all stood up and sang Oh Canada, and gave our moment of silence. Then the Legion Colour Party left the gymnasium, we were allowed to go back to class. I appreciated that we got to do this because this was my first experience with the concept of death, yet they introduced it in a way where I didn’t feel any paranoia about dying. I just felt content with it, a little sad maybe but overall I was pretty still. It also helped to improve my overall manners for future events like this and inspired me to want to learn more about World War 1.
Remembrance Day is more than a day to remember the dead, it's a day to educate youths about subjects in a simple and understandable way in what would otherwise be a touchy subject. It's important that kids get to experience this kind of thing to tell them that “Yeah, things weren’t always peaceful around here, and we lost some important people to us, but they did it to make things better for us”. I don’t know anyone in my family that served in that war, but I still find comfort in thanking the ones who saved our future, god bless them.
See a story by YRHS student Emma Simpson here.
See a story by YRHS student Jonathan Hedley here.