November 11th is an important holiday in Canadian culture as it’s a day set aside to commemorate all those that came before us to make this great nation possible. Also known as Armistice Day, November 11th marks the day World War One ended; at the 11th hour, on the 11th day on the 11th month. Many men and women sacrificed their lives for us. For our family, friends, and the country we call home.
This day is not only for those who died on the frontlines of war but for those who served on the home front as well. And not only for those we lost forever, for those who still live with physical and emotional scars.
Parents, children, siblings, and spouses who lost loved ones on the battlefield take pride in this day, remembering with the communities that their losses were not in vain. The freedom, peace, and diversity that Canada values tenderly is honored on this day, taking a moment to give thanks to our soldiers who witnessed and endured so much.
There were few that were awarded official recognition during times of war but there were countless acts of heroism from all who served. Working together for our nation so future generations could live in peace, today is a day to recognize that our Canadian veterans have given so much to us.
Parades and poppies are a few of the ways we show our respect but many also visit ceremonies at cemeteries, cenotaph, or national monuments where Canadians gather to show their respect to those who fought to protect our home.
Today Canadians take a moment of silence and reflect on how none of us would be where we are without our Canadian soldiers. Reflect on the freedom we now have. Reflect on gratitude and grief. Reflect on how this day means something different to each of us.
John McCrae from Guelph Ontario wrote a poem titled ‘In Flanders Fields’ to honor our fallen soldiers during World War One. He was both a poet, physician, and served as a Lieutenant-Colonel. He wrote the poem in 1915 after his friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer’s funeral.
This poem has become widespread since then, it’s read aloud in ceremonies and school assemblies since it captures the essence of what Remembrance Day stands for. If you’re not familiar with this famous war poem, the full text is located below:
In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.
By Surina Nath