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I don’t understand why Remembrance Day is not a national holiday.  Of all the reasons to memorialize a day, I would think that honouring the sacrifices that have been made to allow for our freedom would be high on the list.

Someone offered up the idea that by keeping children in school on Remembrance Day, they would grow up with an understanding of the history of the day. I don’t know if that is true, but I think it is sad that parents may not talk about the significance of the day – regardless of what goes on at school (and yet spend time and money on a fat man in a red suit, a bunny, and a fairy that pays for kids teeth) I think if our world was visited by aliens, they would be sincerely puzzled by our priorities.

Today we walked over to the cenetaph in our small town and witnessed the simple ceremony:  a silent parade of military figures, followed by people who had served in different capacities, followed by their family members.  As I looked around at friends and neighbours, watching the children quietly looking on, I felt very moved.  During the singing of O Canada and the trumpet’s eery and moving rendition of “Taps”, I could not help but feel an almost overwhelming wave of emotion.  I wondered if I were alone in that feeling – but somehow I doubt it.

There is so much we take for granted.

I do not know what it is like to be oppressed, surrounded by poverty or violence.  I do not know what it is like to face persecution for my beliefs.  And I, too, fall into the habit of bemoaning my challenges, or under-appreciating the abundance in my life.

However, I want my children to always know that there have been people who have gone before them creating the world they live in.  So often we hear of the ways our children are inheriting the problems of the earth, and while that may unfortunately be true, they are also inheriting a world that is full of history.  I believe that some of those stories of bravery, camaraderie and sacrifice should be celebrated as examples of STANDING FOR SOMETHING.

Personally, the idea of war and violence does not resonate with me, and I believe that the solution to our world’s crises lie in our ability to connect and collaborate (There are, after all, no sides on a round planet). And yet, when I think of those who fought in the World Wars, I think of young men and women who sacrificed everything to STAND FOR FREEDOM.

In a world that is rife with disconnection, violence, family estrangement, and limitless challenges, I want to teach my children to STAND FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN.  I do not believe it is possible to change the world by fighting against something.  Instead, we have to be morally grounded, realize that we are all connected to each other, and in Gandhi’s words:  Be the change you wish to see in the world.

And this is why on Remembrance Day, we remember.  And we teach our children to do the same.

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