The men and women marched down the wide street, the cold north wind blasting at them. The two blocks from the Legion building to the Cenotaph covered in quick time. The amazement in my mind that these farmers and wives knew how to march. That those names on the monument meant something personal to them*. The ‘Last Post’ played on a trumpet by a local youth and the dropping of the poppies on the bottom of the plinth. These are my first memories of Remembrance Day in small town Saskatchewan in the 60’s.
I knew that there would be a blog post today as I feel it my civic duty to remember and write about the importance of Remembrance Day. 2020 has thrown a challenge at all of us and so this is a “doorstop” Remembrance Day as we’ve been asked not to gather at the cenotaphs around the country. Today’s national ceremony a scaled back version.
I’ve spent the week reading my blog posts linked in my Remembrance Season. Thinking about the individuals and their families that I have written about before. I’ve been reaching out and finding other bloggers who also mark the occasion and I feel that this quote had the most important thought from the conflicts that have occurred so with permission I have shared it.
The entire blog post can be found here at Remembrance Day 2020, a year to forget as we remember those who served — Robby Robin’s Journey. She has a link within that to a thoughtful post about how members of the Indigenous communities served for Canada and yet where not recognized as citizens, had to give up their treaty rights and received no veteran support when they came home. It is a blight upon the history of the country and its important that we remember that today as well.
We watched the Ottawa ceremony as we often do. I was struck by the Chaplain’s prayer and feel that the Rabbi’s benediction should be required listening for all Canadians today. His message was poignant and timely. I would like to have linked to it but can’t seem to find it yet – even on YouTube – but I encourage you each to watch at least the last ten minutes of it and listen to his message.
When dawn breaks away from the darkness of night we must learn from these lessons and not be apathetic. We must face our racism, support our troops and our veterans. We must each step forward and do the right thing even if it’s hard.
*as an adult I now recognize that the place names on the Ogema Cenotaph would have just been place names. The four corners have the names of First World War Canadian battlefields and the veterans I saw march past were Second World War veterans. I doubt any of them had even visited those spots unless in battle.
**a total aside – 30 plus minutes looking for the picture from the Canadian War Memorial taken in 2015. I knew I had previously used it and so rather than take up new space on the blog I searched and searched until I found it. I feel a new blog post coming on!