December 14, 2018

BY BRANDY FULTON

The clock strikes 12, and Halloween is over. That is, for the most part. A few parties trickle into the early hours of Nov. 1, children are passed out from candy comas, parents are left eating the scraps that remain, and stores seem to explode with all their holly jolly Christmas spirit.

The music, lights, decorations and lovely commercialism that all come along with retailers and this festive time of the year seem to magically appear the morning after the spooky holiday.

Now, there is nothing wrong with this. Christmas brings many people closer to their family and friends, and something about this holiday just lightens people’s moods. However, the timing seems a little off.

On Nov. 11, 1918, the First World War came to an end. Over nine million soldiers and seven million civilians died in that war, not to mention the number of victims of huge genocides that took place.

Since then 26 countries have devoted Nov. 11 to remembering veterans. Schools hold assemblies, workplaces and other facilities display their respect for those who fought for our freedom. Overall, people take a minute on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to recognize those who gave up their lives.

Unfortunately, as the years go on more people continue to work through that one minute. Children don’t understand why they are wearing red flowers over their hearts or sitting in silence while a stranger plays the trumpet. Fewer people truly understand what Remembrance Day is and why it is so important to our history as not only Canadians but as a world.

In Ontario, Remembrance Day is not a holiday. Legions think many people will take the day off and not see this time as a moment to respect those who were in the war.

In 2015 there were approximately 8,500 students enrolled at Conestoga College’s Doon campus. At 11 a.m. a Remembrance Day ceremony was held. However, only two and a half per cent of students attended. Last year’s first-year journalism students were given a task to interview people around campus about why they wear a poppy. The students almost ran out of time due to the lack of people wearing them. Many students claimed they wear poppies because they always have, not for any reason.

We are losing more veterans as the years go by. We no longer have veterans of the First World War and the number for the Second World War is quickly falling. We shop like crazy for our perfect Christmas gifts but forget about Remembrance Day. Once our children grow up are they going to remember veterans or is it going to be a “back in my day” kind of moment. We walk around for a few days saying “lest we forget,” but it seems as though many of us already have.

The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.

 

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