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Teaching your kids the importance of Remembrance Day

Teaching your kids the importance of Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is stat holiday in BC and a national event. Across the country, Canadians join together to wear a poppy and remember those who serve. The poppy is a symbol from the famous poem, “In Flander’s Fields” by Canadian Lt.-Col. John McCrae. The Poppy Campaign, hosted by Canadian Legion volunteers, raises funds through donations to support veterans and their families. (Anyone can volunteer and thousands of volunteers are needed every year.)

Image credit: Harriet Fancott

On November 11th, 1918, the hostilities of World War I ended at 11:00 am. This is why we take a moment of silence at 11:00 am to reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women who fought and served in the past, as well as those who currently defend our country.

For children, being asked to remember people or an event of which they may have no personal experience can be challenging and disorienting. Parents can take this opportunity to discuss Canada’s history and foster an appreciation for the freedom we have to participate in cultural and political events. School-age children are given the opportunity to learn about Remembrance Day through school ceremonies and lessons, but may have questions that they would like to ask you.

For younger children, parents may share a personal, age-appropriate story relating to the sacrifice of others or the experiences of a grandparent, great-grandparent, friend, or neighbour. Acts of courage and heroism occur frequently throughout war and we can honour those who serve by recognizing the hardship and fears they endured so we could live in peace.

The Vancouver Public Library has a number of fantastic resources for youth including “A Poppy is to Remember” by Heather Patterson, or “In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae” by Linda Granfield.

The purpose of inviting children to participate in the solemn act of remembrance is not only to develop a respectful understanding of the sacrifice of others, but also to acknowledge our responsibility to continue to uphold the peace they fought so hard to achieve.

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On Remembrance Day, ceremonies will be hosted throughout the Lower Mainland. (Contact your local municipality or the Canadian Legion for more details.) One of the largest events is the Vancouver Remembrance Day Ceremony and Parade at Victory Square at West Hastings Street and Cambie Street. The program includes a performance by the Vancouver Bach Youth Choir and Sarabande, followed by a parade and cenotaph ceremony.

At 11:00 am, there will be Two Minutes of Silence and a 21-gun salute by the 15th Field Artillery Regiment. The ceremony concludes with the Royal Canadian Air Force fly-by (weather permitting), the singing of “In Flanders Fields,” and wreaths will be placed at the Victory Square Cenotaph.

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