This gentleman is my Great Grandad, this photo of him was taken in 1918 at a photo studio in England. He was British, but in Canada and served in the Canadian army during 1914. He fought in France in the First World War, and he served with the Canadian Light Horse at Vimy Ridge. My Nana, his daughter, still has the riding crop he used, and also has his lapel badges.
This gentleman, is my Grandad (my Dad’s father). He joined the Navy in 1941, after WWII began. My Grandad was 17 when he joined the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. He went over seas much later, and did not get farther than being based in Scotland. He did not see combat, as he was not on a Naval ship until the end of the war. My Grandad was also in Korea for a year, on the HMCS Cayuga. They saw some battles, but not a great deal, as it was the Army that mostly did. This year marks 60 years since the Korean War ended, it has been marked as the Year of the Korean War Veteran by our Federal Government.
This is a bit of my families history, and our connection to war and a part of why we remember. I find myself, as a Mom, now having a stronger desire than ever before to want to pass on why we remember. We need to talk to our children about everything surrounding Remembrance Day – war, death, and freedom. It is so important, and it is also challenging. With working in the school districts I have noticed a shift over the recent years, many of the children and young people do not know why we remember or are not respectful about Remembrance Day ceremonies.
Our daughter, is going to grow up knowing about her family that served in the past. I hope to show her the pictures, and little artifacts that are around. I hope that this and sharing the stories with her, will help her to relate to why Remembrance Day is so important. My daughter will hear The Last Post and The Rouse play. She will be read books that are about what occurred, my daughter will become educated in history. Books are a great way to help start a discussion with your children. It also helps introduce imagery that is connected to Remembrance Day, such as the poppy we wear. If you have a little one you can even use a story character like Winnie the Pooh to mention how he this character came about based on a bear that was the mascot for the Canadian Army. We will participate in things as a family. This year I took Everly to the Remembrance Day assembly at the school I work at. While she is still far too young to understand what was going on, she sat quietly and was constantly looking around at the art work, and listened to the songs and poems that were shared. In the future, we will probably attend Remembrance Day services in the area. We do not want it to ever be forgotten, we will always remember, and our children will learn why we must remember.
Why Wear A Poppy By Blair Leger
‘Please wear a poppy’, the lady said
and held one forth, but I shook my head.
Then I stopped and watched as she offered them there,
And her face was old, and lined with care;
But beneath the scars the years had made
There remained a smile that refused to fade.
A boy came whistling down the street,
Bouncing along, on care free feet
His smile was full of joy and fun,
‘Lady’, said he, ‘May I have one?’
When she pinned it on, he turned to say,
‘Why do we wear a poppy today?’
The lady smiled in her wistful way,
and answered, ‘This is Remembrance Day,
And the poppy there is the symbol for,
the gallant men who died in war,
and because they died you and I are free–
That’s why we wear a poppy, you see’.
‘I had a boy about your size,
with golden hair and big blue eyes.
He loved to play and jump and shout,
free as a bird he would race about.
As the years went by, he learned and grew
and became a man–as you will, too.’
‘He was fine and strong, with a boyish smile,
but he’d seemed with us such a little while
When war broke out and he went away,
I still remember his face that day.
When he smiled at me and said’Good-bye,
I’ll soon be back, mom, so please don’t cry’.
‘But the war went on and he had to stay,
and all I could do was wait and pray.
His letters told of the awful fight,
(I can see it in my dreams at night),
with the tanks and guns and cruel Barbed wire,
and the mines and bullets, the bombs and fire.’
‘Till at last the war was won-
and that’s why we wear a poppy son’.
The small boy turned as if to go,
Then said ‘Thanks lady, i’m glad to know.
That sure did sound like an awful fight,
But your son– did he come back alright?’
A tear rolled down each faded cheek;
she shook her head, but didn’t speak.
I slunk away in a sort of shame,
and if you were me you’d have done the same;
For our thanks, in giving, is oft delayed,
though our freedom was bought-and thousands paid.
And so when we see a poppy worn, let us reflect on the burden borne
By those who gave their very all
and asked to answer their country’s call
That we at home in peace might live.
Then wear a poppy. Remember– and give!
Lest we forget.