In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae, 1872-1918
In Flander's 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.
Everyone's heard of Canadian John McCrae's poem, whether from school or from the Heritage Minutes commercials on TV back in the 1990's. (They were our little Coles Notes on Canadian History). As great as this poem depicts the sentiment of wartime past, it's still a difficult concept for our kids to understand today (and perhaps for some of us parents too). How can we help our kids remember our veterans in today's world of technology? Here are some small but meaningful ways to help your family remember.
WEAR A POPPY
Sounds simple right? It is. Wearing a poppy on your lapel is a small but powerful symbol that teaches your kids about the importance of remembering. Not only do they see you, they’ll probably want to imitate you. Poppies can be found at schools, local businesses and shopping malls for a small donation. For more information and to learn about the importance of the poppy, visit www.legion.ca/remembrance/the-poppy .
This year, there is a movement online #CanadaRemembers to help honour our veterans and let them know that we care. Being online is a quick and efficient way to spread the message about honouring veterans. This year, the Royal Canadian Legion has launched a digital version of the beautiful, bright red poppy that can be customized and shared with your friends and family through your favourite social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can create your own poppy for a small donation until November 11, 2018 by visiting www.mypoppy.ca. These online poppys are meant to compliment the traditional poppy that you wear and not replace them. Another way to pay your respects, post an image of a poppy as your Facebook profile picture. Visit the Veterans Affairs Canada website to learn more about the social media campaigns. You can also Tweet, or blog, about what Remembrance Day means to you using #CanadaRemembers.
READ A BOOK
Talking to your kids about the history of Remembrance Day is a key factor in carrying on the tradition. If you don’t know where to start the conversation, then why not start it with a book? There are numerous books available that tell stories about the two World Wars in a poignant and entertaining way for kids to understand. Use the books as a tool to help you talk about war, service to our country, sacrifice, and peace. Here is a list of books we put together to help. We have listed some Remembrance Day Book for Kids here.
Visit your local branch of the Regina Public Library to find more great and and free resources.
LINK THE PRESENT TO THE PAST
Modern-day military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as peacekeeping missions, make war real today. Compare today’s conflicts to those of the World Wars of the past to help children understand its impact and importance. Check out the online exhibits on the Canadian War Museum’s website at www.warmuseum.ca. The online exhibitions include photos of people and objects from the First World War, images by journalists in the War in Afghanistan, a Remembrance Day toolkit with suggested activities for kids, and more. Remembering veterans means honouring all servicemen and women.
ATTEND A CEREMONY
There are numerous Remembrance Day ceremonies that you can attend with your child. This is probably the most well-known way of honouring those who sacrificed themselves for our country. In Regina, you can attend a ceremony at your child’s school, the annual Remembrance Day ceremony at Evraz Place - Brandt Centre or at the Victoria Park Cenotaph.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we honour those who gave their life during wartime. It doesn’t matter how you decide to remember, just be sure that you do remember.