Every year, on November 11th we celebrate Remembrance Day.
A memorial day originally dedicated to the fallen heroes of the first world war, however it’s evolved into a moment of reflection, and appreciation for all those in uniform.
A Brief History
In 1919, following the end of the first World War, King George V of the British Empire established a memorial known as Armistice day throughout most of the territories within the empire. This memorial was meant to celebrate, honor, and remember the men and women who served during the war, and lost their lives. The original date for this memorial was on the second Monday of November. However, this ended up colliding with Canadian Thanksgiving, and was eventually changed to the 11th, and renamed “Remembrance Day” in 1931.
When Armistice Day was renamed to Remembrance Day, it brought back interest in recalling the wars, and great sacrifices that were made. Eventually, two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, poppies, and the recitation of Flanders Field became custom.
Remembrance Day, Today.
Growing up, I always remembered taking two minutes of silence to reflect on the soldiers who gave their lives for us, and it always stuck with me. It’s an extremely important day, as I know people close to me who fought in the Afghanistan Wars, and were never the same after they returned. Soldiers are put through hell, from training, to conflict, and beyond, which brings me to my next point.
Ever since it’s birth, Remembrance Day has unfortunately fluctuated in popularity and celebration. Many employers don’t seem to value it’s importance, and refuse to give their employees TWO whole minutes to reflect. Which is undeniably disappointing as these troops sacrificed their lives for our country, and witnessed many gruesome, and unforgettable, life-changing things.
Especially these past few years with the pandemic, it seems that celebration for the memorial is at an all time low.
Indigenous Veterans Day
One of the more overlooked memorial days, is the Indigenous Veterans Day which occurs on November 8th. This day is meant to celebrate first nation soldiers, often volunteers who fought side-by-side with fellow “Canadian” troops. Why they were referred to as fighting alongside Canadians, instead of AS Canadians is because during the time their platoons were considered a “separate entity”. However, many first nations in the current day are fighting to decolonize Remembrance Day, and essentially combine both days.