Monday will mark Canada’s 95th commemoration of Remembrance Day, an occasion to recognize, recall and remember the sacrifices of the young men who gave their lives in The Great War.
Time has certainly marched on since “The Great War,” and, aside from that little dust-up in the 1930s and 40s, Canadians have enjoyed lives of relative peace since.
In the age of the smart phone, singing space-station commanders and Facebook, one might be tempted to think Remembrance Day is an ancient artifact ready for the retirement home.
Indeed, how do you convey a message of “Lest We Forget” to a generation of schoolchildren who have never been touched directly by war?
Yet, the commemorations that occur in small communities across the country invariable feature our youth. Whether it’s Junior Canadian Rangers and Boy Scouts and Girl Guides participating in the ceremonies, or simply children looking on as spectators, the piping, trumpeting, speeches and moments of silence at cenotaphs across the land are invariably attended by those who may not even know exactly what they are commemorating.
And that’s OK.
It doesn’t matter whether they return home to ask pointed questions about the morning, or simply focus on the hot dogs and hot chocolate awaiting the end of the recessional parade.
Remembrance Day is not a celebration of victory over evil, and we pray it does not become a celebration of war.
The more our children are exposed to our history, the better chance they have of recognizing those doing the fighting and dying are rarely those giving the battle orders.
And with that knowledge, perhaps they can avoid become the former while learning to question the decisions of the latter.