The poppy. Every time you see that splash of brilliant red on someone’s lapel in November, you know what it means and why it’s there. Most of us will have read John McCrae’s poem, the reason that poppies are now symbolic of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Why Do We Celebrate?
Remembrance Day was first known as Armistice Day because of the armistice agreement that was signed on November 11, 1918, bringing an end to the First World War. Since then, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month every year, we stop and hold two minutes of silence to remember and honour the fallen. According to Veterans Affairs of Canada, in our country alone, well over 2 million Canadians have served and more than 118,000 have died in conflict.
2020 is a special year because it marks the 75th anniversary since the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945. After three-quarters of a century, there’s a risk that memories of conflicts like this will fade in the minds of those who were born long after the gunfire and horror ceased. Yet we can hardly imagine what our world would look like without the bravery of men and women who gave their lives in exchange for freedom.
How Can We Celebrate?
This year, the pandemic has altered many ceremonies commemorating this day. It’s heartbreaking to think of the veterans who should be honoured at these events, now sitting indoors on a day that means so much to them. It’s always a privilege to stop and buy a poppy from a smiling, senior veteran with medals on their uniform, but there likely won’t be many opportunities like that. These valued members of our society have lost something important to them, and CBC reports a dip in poppy sales, too.
Some ceremonies are still being held across Canada and the world but with restrictions in many places. There are other ways to remember, whether it’s in a group or by yourself. Perhaps someone in your life serves or has served. Honour them with a phone call or message of gratitude, or talk to them about their experiences. They need and deserve to be heard. If you would like to reach out to a soldier but don’t know any personally, you can send a message to our Canadian troops here. If you’re a parent, get your kids involved and help them understand the debt of gratitude we owe.
Take two minutes out of your busy day and pause at 11 am today. Instead of posting your usual content on social media, set aside today for the purpose of honouring, thanking, and educating. Wear a poppy. Remember. Lest we forget.
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“Consequently, faith comes from hearing
the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
~ Romans 10:17