A bright red, careful-not-to-pin-your-finger, poppy, that I displayed proudly on my winter jacket every year. I remember everyone wore a poppy. I remember sitting numb-bottomed in school assembly, wearing my poppy that I’d transferred from my coat to my chemise, while old gentlemen spoke of a war I didn’t understand. And, boy could they talk!
I also remember wreaths and legion teas and parades and silent minutes and no school. But I don’t remember ever understanding why this holiday was so important. There weren’t any presents or hidden candies or cinnamon heart love letters, but there was a lot of fuss.
Now, at age twenty-four, I continue to question the holiday. Not on its purpose, as I am immensely thankful to the people who fought for my freedoms of which I cherish. No, I question its inception, and why there are still soldiers who are fighting overseas, in a war that doesn’t seem to exist here, in my cozy Canadian apartment.
But, despite my aversion to war, I don’t want to spend this Remembrance Day questioning our government in angry discussions around a pitcher of Pilsner. I’d like this year to serve as a reminder to be grateful for my freedoms and gifts and life, not only on November 11th, but every day.
I’ve always experienced this holiday either through an unwavering blind following or a pointless bitter aversion and mixed in all of that, a lack of compassion to people who fought for my right to think and act freely. I wish it had not been necessary. I wish people everywhere had these rights, but the truth is, even in a free society you have to fight every day for your rights, and you have to choose to express them. Maybe holding a gun to someone’s head isn’t the best way to fight, but neither is ignoring them.
So, this year, my Remembrance Day resolution is to take my silent minute to truly be thankful rather than counting down the seconds. Perhaps I’ll even make a wish. It is 11/11/11 after all.
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Guest Author Bio
Stephanie hails from the snapping Alberta prairies and now plays coastal babe in Victoria.