Posted in Canada remembers, writing

A Unique Remembrance Day

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.

Ogema Cenotaph

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.

What we forget

But surely, Remembrance Day should be about both honouring those who’ve sacrificed for us and learning from the lessons of that brutal and ultimately futile war. November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the “war to end all wars”. That doesn’t seem to have worked out so well; wars aren’t ended. Aren’t we supposed to remember that part, too? Aren’t we supposed to stop and think about why we have all these wars anyway and try to put a stop to them? It appears that there were virtually no lessons learned from the “war to end all wars”, which took something in the order of 16 million lives (possibly up to 37 million when deaths from disease and infection in both military and civilians are included). One of the deadliest conflicts in all of history. In fact, knowing that, one might question why it’s called the Great War. There was nothing great about it.

http://www.robbyrobinsjourney.wordpress.com
Isle of Skye cemetery

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.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 2015**

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.

Bernie

*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!

Author:

I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

8 thoughts on “A Unique Remembrance Day

    1. If feels like the least I can do Donna to highlight stories and give us each pause to think about the sacrifices of those that came before us. I just hope, collectively, that the world has learnt enough lessons but if one looks at Syria or Georgia or Gaza (to name but a few) it doesn’t necessarily feel like it. Sadly enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Good post Bernie with a message that rings truer by the day. My fondest Remembrance Day memory was the time I marched along to our local cenotaph behind my young son when he was in air cadets. It was freezing cold and yet I felt very warm. The Ottawa ceremony was especially good this year and our local radio station had a historical production running from 9:30 AM dealing with both Great wars and the history of what was going on inside and outside the battles. Remembering is more and more important every year. Stay well. Allan

    Liked by 2 people

      1. And stay warm! It looks like you’re having a brutal early cold snap just when we’re having a totally unprecedented warm spell. It’s about to end, but everyone’s been out enjoying it. Next time will be 5-6 months from now!

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      2. I wouldn’t say brutal as it’s only -15 and that’s not all that cold. We have a ton of snow though for so early in the year and it’s still coming down! Can’t tell where we spent 4 hours shovelling out from the earlier storm but you Eastern Canadians are used to that! Winter is a time for inside projects and after a busy summer I’m always ready to come inside for a change of pace.

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