Remembrance Day comes and goes every November 11th. And while it is not yet a statutory holiday in all provinces (Quebec, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia being the exceptions), it is, nevertheless, an important day in the hearts and minds of all Canadians. It was originally called Armistice Day and was observed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which was the date and time that World War 1 ended. With Remembrance Day ceremonies taking place all across the country, it is a day to reflect upon and remember the men and women of the armed forces who have served and who continue to serve our country in times of war.
The most common symbol of Remembrance Day is the wearing a poppy on your lapel, however there are many other ways that Canadians can take a minute to honor this historically important date. And although November 11th is the official date, there are all sorts of rituals that can be practiced throughout the year to pay homage to these brave women and men in order to remind them that they are important to us every day of the year!
1) Wear a poppy:
As mentioned above, the poppy is the most common emblem of Remembrance Day. This beautiful red flower came to symbolically represent Remembrance Day after the war poem “In Flanders Fields”, written by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. Lieutenant-Colonel McCrae was inspired to pen this famous Canadian poem during the First World War, after the funeral of a fellow soldier and friend. All around the world, the poppy has become the global symbol for Remembrance Day and the honoring of our soldiers. Weeks before November 11th, you can easily purchase a poppy at your local grocery store and other public places and all the proceeds go towards benefits for veterans. Pin the poppy to your lapel and then wear it loud and proud!
2) Observe a moment of silence:
An easy way to include young children in a Remembrance Day tradition and to pay homage to the importance of the day is to observe a moment of silence at the 11th hour (11am) on November 11th. Depending on the ages of the children, you can choose the length of time to remain silent (harder for some ages than others!). It is a great way to teach children from young ages to respect and think about others.
3) Enter a Contest:
The Royal Canadian Legion has a longstanding tradition of hosting an “Annual Poster and Literary Contest” to promote the holiday within schools and across the country. So go on and get creative! The contests are each divided into 4 categories based on school ages and there are 4 different contests: color posters, black and white posters, essays and poems. You can get your local school involved and get the kids drawing and writing! Let them release those creative juices and learn about this historically important date all at the same time! Find out more about the contest here: http://www.legion.ca/communities-youth/youth-education/remembrance-contests
4) Promote Peace:
Have you heard of the Peace Crane Project? This is such an incredible initiative that it should be shouted from the rooftops! The idea is quite simple. Whether you are part of a school or a community group, whether you wish to participate with your family, or even participate individually, everyone is encouraged to take part in the promotion of peace! All that is required is that each person fold a peace crane or a peace dove, fill its wings with words or pictures of peace and love, then trade it to another child somewhere else in the world. How beautiful is that?? Although this initiative is not necessarily linked with Remembrance Day, peace projects are definitely a great way to celebrate the day! To get involved or to get more information: https://peacecraneproject.org/
5) Memorial Services:
All across the country, there are different Memorial Services being held on November 11th. The Royal Canadian Legion, for example, organize Remembrance Day ceremonies in over 1,400 branches across the country. You can easily inquire with your local branch where the nearest ceremony is in your city. There are also many monuments and memorials that can be visited in each province. You can find a list here: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/canada. Visiting these monuments, especially at the 11th hour, is a great way to connect with your Canadian roots and culture.
No matter how you choose to observe Remembrance Day, the important thing is to remember. Remember the sacrifices made. Remember the freedom that was so hard won. Remember the important role that Canada has played and continues to play. Remember.
Here at https://icash.ca, the entire team will take a minute at the 11th hour on November 11th to remember. Join us.