Personal thoughts on the importance of Remembrance Day

Remembering Remembrance days of my past, I look back and see a little Jenna sitting cross-legged and silent in the elementary school gym. A line up of 20 or so men and women would march in front of us, and a recording of Reveille was played on the school’s cassette player.

They carried their flags proudly and saluted with a crisp display of military perfection. I remember I was in awe of these men who stood before me; I was even related to a one of them. I would look up and see my great uncle Ray standing proudly among them and whisper to my friends even prouder, “I’m related to him.”

Looking back on my eight-year-old self, I recognize that I was proud that he was my uncle, but had I ever thanked him? To my recollection I had not.

As a child I understood only that he was in a war and had fought somewhere. I didn’t realize exactly what he had been through and what he and other veterans had done to be able to walk across that elementary gym floor in front of all of us kids.

A few years later he passed away and I recall going to his service. The next Remembrance Day service at my school he wasn’t there to walk across the gym floor. I was a child and I didn’t realize this was the last member of my bloodline whom had served in a war.

Looking back on this it saddens me.

As an adult with a conscious and quizzical mind, the realization of the opportunity that I had lost my chance to thank my family member for what he did was gone. Every Remembrance Day after my great uncle had passed an apathetic feeling was present in my mind. There was no personal connection to those standing before me, nor did I fully understand the hard ships these men and women faced.

As a teenager who cared little about anything, let alone the history of my family or thanking those who fought for my freedom these feelings of apathy grew.

It was until recently when I was looking through old family photos with my mother that my adult appreciation for Remembrance Day was sparked. We sat rifling through old photos and letters that my mother had collected over the years from our ancestors.

I came across a black and white photo of a man in an army uniform. My mother explained that this man was my great grandfather, or her father’s father, Herman ‘Brian’ Anderson.

As I looked at the photo, I noticed his nose first. This man that I had never met shared not only the same bloodline with me, but I had his nose as well.

It saddened me to know I had never been able to thank this man whom I shared so many facial features with and whom had fought for his country and his future great-grandchildren’s freedom.

It also saddens me that so many people disregard Remembrance Day, and spend more time and money worrying about what they are going to be wearing for Halloween.

With so few First and Second World War veterans left to attend schools Remembrance Day ceremonies, I worry that children will grow up to disregard the day as they will have no personal connection to relate the day to.

If parents and teachers don’t begin to educate children more on the history of their families and the soldiers come to pass whose suffering allowed them to be sitting in that classroom, we will be raising a generation who cares more about Halloween than they do Remembrance Day.

I can’t help but wonder who our children and their children will remember on this day and what the importance of this day will be to them.

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel makes campaign stop in Lacombe

Alberta Party leaders promises supports for business community

Goodbye to our local readers

Red Deer Express closing its doors Wednesday

Winners makes a grand opening at Parkland Mall Tuesday

New outlet will draw business and shoppers, says Red Deer-North MLA Kim Shreiner

Notley promises extra $90M a year to reduce waits in surgery, emergency rooms

Leader says she’d keep funding specialized liaison teams so paramedics can get back to work faster

Singer/songwriter John Wort Hannam heads to the Elks Lodge April 12th

Concert is being hosted by the Central Music Festival Society

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

Study: Why Canadian police should have a dedicated animal cruelty unit

People view fighting animal cruelty as a public responsibility

One person dead in head-on collision near Stettler

Stettler RCMP investigate fatal collision

One Maskwacis man arrested after gun seized on reserve

Maskwacis RCMP locate loaded handgun during search warrant

Military officer accused of sexual misconduct, drunkenness in B.C., Alberta

Warrant Officer Jarvis Kevin Malone is charged under the National Defence Act

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Trudeau says he, Wilson-Raybould had cordial conversation last week

Trudeau denies anything improper occurred regarding SNC-Lavalin and the PMO

Most Read