Archive for Remembrance Day

A Day of Remembrance

Posted in History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2010 by Jordan

In the two weeks before November 11th it is customary for people in the Commonwealth countries to wear a poppy.  Poppies were amongst the first things to grow following the destructive battles in the Flanders region of Belgium during WWI.  The brilliant red of the poppies is said to symbolize the blood spilled throughout the Great War.  It was John McCrae’s reference in his poem In Flanders Fields that brought the poppy to represent the sacrifices of the armed forces.

Every year I proudly wear a poppy as a means of remembrance.  However, today was the first Remembrance Day I actually had the opportunity to pay my respects at a cenotaph or war memorial.  As thousands gathered at the Sailors Memorial in Halifax to pay homage to the fallen, the waves of the Atlantic crashed along the shoreline.  I found myself travelling back in time to the 1940s and envisioning the convoys bound for Britain leaving the Halifax harbor.  Anytime I try to put myself in the shoes of past heroes I am grateful I was never presented with their situation.  However, it is this gratefulness that ensures I will not forget the efforts of Canada’s veterans.  Consequently, I will gladly wear a poppy every year and leave that poppy at a war memorial on November 11th.

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Lest We Forget

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2010 by Jordan

April 9, 1917 is a date that will remain entrenched in Canadian history forever.  It is the date that many Canadians consider the birth of Canada as a nation.  It is the date that four Canadian Divisions went over the top and led the allied offensive at Vimy Ridge in the First World War.  It was a successful offensive that many military and war historians consider the turning point of the Great War.

I studied history in school, wrote an essay on Canada’s success at Vimy and taught a lesson to a grade eleven class on how the events at Vimy Ridge contributed to Canada’s distinction as a nation and independence from Britain.  However, it wasn’t until a colleague of mine came into my office yesterday and wished me a Happy Canada Day that I first remember the anniversary of Vimy Ridge and second, took time to remember the great sacrifices men younger than myself made some 93 years ago to help preserve the freedoms so many of us take for granted today.  It made me think and question why such influential Canadian moments are not celebrated and remembered throughout Canada more prominently.

While reading an article in the Globe and Mail last night I was pleased to find out that there was actually a rather extensive ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa yesterday commemorating the Battle of Vimy Ridge. However, that same article mentioned that absence of John “Jack” Babcock, the last living veteran of the conflict, who died on February 18 at the age of 109.  With so many of our great veterans passing away, I feel their great efforts have become more and more distant from our present thoughts.  Consequently, it is becoming more and more important that we do not forget the freedoms we have bestowed upon us and we do not forget the men and women who gave up so much in both World Wars to ensure we had the opportunity to live the lives we do today.  Remember battles like Vimy, Passchendaele, the Somme, Dieppe and Normandy because it the existence of these battles that we remember on Remembrance Day.

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