“Lest We Forget” to Teach Our Youth the Importance of Remembrance Day

It saddens me every year to hear the news of all the stolen Poppy Boxes from coffee shops and stores.  What’s worse is that the thieves don’t even care that their image is caught on surveillance cameras and broadcast on the local television news.  So whose fault is this?  Are parents so busy working to pay the bills, that they don’t have the chance to have the dinner table conversation about respecting the veterans who went to war to fight for and secure, the freedom we all enjoy to this day?  Do we need longer discussions at school about men and women who leave their families behind when they devote their lives to their country?  Do our youth need to hear the wives, mothers, fathers and children of these brave men and women, talk about how much they miss them and worry about them while they are gone?  Do we need to expose our youth to what a family goes through when all they have left of their loved one who is killed in a war, is a flag and their memories?  Soldiers fought for our freedom and continue to do so and we live in a time in this country when military service is not mandatory so the least we can do is show some respect for Remembrance Day.

I think there is an entire generation who don’t appreciate the sacrifice of others.  I believe the more information we have access to the less inclined we are to seek out facts about issues more important than Reality TV shows, starring socialites.  (And let’s take a second to process that being a socialite is an actual job!  My God, people lost their lives so that cretins can be free to be trite and frivolous…sigh)  Let’s use our phones and tablets, boys and girls, to learn some history.  If we do not understand our past, how can we understand our world as it is now and how then can we understand where we need to go and how to get there?  Let’s talk to our young people about the meaning of Remembrance Day and why the least we can do is be respectful.  Use your change and buy and wear a Poppy on the left side of your jacket above your heart.  Let’s understand that the Poppy boxes contain much needed funds to help our veterans get the things they need in order to live their lives.  Let’s understand that they saw and did horrific things so we wouldn’t have to and let us all learn to quiet ourselves for just a minute at 11 O’clock tomorrow morning and show them the respect and honour they deserve.

My sons have been told that my grandfather lived his youth during a time of war. He knew what war was and had the worry and fear that accompanied it that no young person should ever have to experience.  My husband’s grandfather served in the Canadian Military.  My uncle was in command of our Regiment.  My children were told about their service.  It didn’t take very long and it was easy to explain that kind of sacrifice.  It is important to pass this onto our youth because it teaches them about something that is sadly lacking in our society today, and that is respect.

Lastly, lest we forget, we should (as in retailers and consumers) hold off on infusing Christmas before November 11th.  I love Christmas …a lot… but there is no place for tinsel and Christmas trees and large images of Santa ahead of the Poppy leading up to Remembrance Day.  It’s tacky and it”s disrespectful and it teaches our youth to value the material stuff over respecting those who make the ultimate sacrifice so we can celebrate Christmas and very often when we are celebrating with our families, they are not.  So, from now on, can the adults in our society please make a concerted effort to lead by example and pay tribute to our veterans and show the utmost respect by making a big deal about Remembrance Day lest the youngsters are watching.  Let’s change it now.  Let’s change it forever. Let’s change it for the better. Let them learn to recite the poem.

In Flanders Fields  by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lest We Forget