Today is Remembrance Day in Canada – the day we remember and honour veterans and those who have died in war.
The older students of the kids’ school will walk to the public Remembrance Day service at the community cenotaph a few blocks away from the school. There will be veterans there – men and women, mostly older people dressed in dignified navy blue uniforms. There will be representatives of various levels of government and different branches of the armed forces. The children will stand solemnly, for once keeping the fidgeting to a minimum, while the cold wind blows around them, listening to one speech after another, watching while one person after another lays a wreath at the memorial. One of the students from the school will lay a wreath also, on behalf of the youth of the community.
I’ve been to this ceremony many times and I will go again. I am always struck by the contrast between the grey-haired veterans in their sombre navy blue and black uniforms, and the students in their brightly-coloured parkas and funky winter hats. The veterans have a far-away look on their faces. The kids look curious, alert, sometimes thoughtful.
In Canada we have a tradition that red poppies represent this day. Every person at the Remembrance Day ceremony will be wearing a red poppy on their lapel. Every wreath will be adorned with red poppies. When the ceremony is over, many people will leave their poppies at the memorial.
Love honours those who have gone before. Love remembers duty and sacrifice. Love does not forget.