By Sophia L
Bright red Remembrance Day poppies scatter the school hallways, recreating an image of Flanders Fields. Although small talk of heroic relatives fill the seemingly empty halls, the true meaning of Remembrance Day seems lost and forgotten, buried under passing years. When an anonymous student was inquired about Remembrance Day, she nonchalantly responded, “Why are you asking me? I don’t really care. I guess it’s about war, death, survivors and long weekends.” Other than a few passed down stories, the future generation will have nothing to hold on to. A monument, perhaps, will mark their only linkage to the sorrowful yet notable event that happens annually.
As November 11th is fast approaching, we are reminded of long Remembrance Day assemblies. In previous years, glancing around the auditorium, many students were fast asleep! As students, we should definitely pay our wholehearted respects to veterans, who mark this special day in their calendars, as it is one of the rare occasions in which they star as “men of honour”.
Living in a big city like Calgary, the 4th biggest in Canada, our everyday lives consist of work, sleep, eat and even entertainments. When was the last time war has even crossed our minds? And the fact that Canadians are dying across the world, fighting in a foreign country? Those we might not even have a connection to or think about on a daily basis, yet they are fighting for the freedom of others. We are not living in ignorance, but merely unaware of global conflicts that do not affect us personally. We are usually so engaged in our own lives that when chaos happens we are traumatized. Such a tragic event happened recently in Ontario, and hits close to home. Fellow soldier, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, was shot dead while honourably standing on guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Sometimes we need to be remindedthat veterans, and young soldiers alike, are the reason to why we, and others around the world, are alive today. While we have liberty now, they were the ones who fought for our freedom. These brave men and women were willing to sacrifice their life for the lives of many, even for strangers.
Although the few World War heroes still remaining will eventually pass away over time, young soldiers and cadets continue to uphold the Remembrance Day tradition. This year, at least 5 students at Westmount plan to participate as cadets in the school assembly to lay down wreaths.
In an interview with a fellow peer at Westmount, Gabriel S, he shares his views on Remembrance Day:
Sophia: Are you going to participate as a cadet in the Remembrance Day assembly (cadet march past) on November 11th?
Gabriel: Sure, I mean, why not? It’s a great opportunity.
S: That’s great! Why do you want to participate in this event?
G: Well, because I get to show off I guess.
S: Does doing the march past remind you of the veterans at all? War? Death?
G: Not really, it’s not something I think about on a daily basis. I mean, it might sound selfish, but the veterans don’t really affect my life or me. On Remembrance Day, however, war and death does occur in my thoughts.
S: Do you feel that you have any connection to Remembrance Day?
G: Yes, I definitely feel that being a cadet means that I have a responsibility for the veterans: we are following up to them.
Soldiers who have passed away, even the unknown: we shall remember them, and simply put ourselves in their shoes this Remembrance Day, if we could even imagine how. The steps that they took are large ones; the feats that they accomplished are great ones; the bravery they have, none other can compare. Their deeds for our country, Canada, shall definitely be remembered forever.