People gather to honour the fallen during a Remembrance Day ceremony at God’s Acre Veteran’s Cemetery in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, November 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

People gather to honour the fallen during a Remembrance Day ceremony at God’s Acre Veteran’s Cemetery in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, November 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Ryan’s Regards: Will Rememberance Day become memory?

COVID changed how we memorialize our Veterans this year, but these alterations may stick around

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to say that the way we commemorate Remembrance Day is changing.

Constant is the somber feeling that weighs heavy on us at this time of year; our Veterans are arguably one of Canada’s most unifying and emotional subjects.

And 2020 has brought immediate attendance restrictions and live streams, but when I mention change, I am not talking about the tiresome effects of COVID-19.

How Nov. 11th looks and what it means to Canadians shifts with or without a pandemic.

I view Remembrance Day as an open wound that will not, and should not, heal.

But that aforementioned shift, I believe, serves as an unfortunate scab that I and many young Canadians grew up with; there’s a cover that never fully reveals the pain underneath the wound.

Like many, I did not have relatives serve in either World War; everyone was either too young or born at the “wrong” time.

In school, the pieces were present, but the emotional aspect always seemed to be missed; there was always a disconnect, which will only widen as the years go by.

We would flatly recite In Flanders Fields ad nauseam, watch a video with the same Sarah McLachlan song playing over it, and then have a band student give a squeaky rendition of Taps.

The same Veteran would come year in and year out to lay down a wreath; we were always captivated by him, but few of us personally knew him beyond than the mythic, stern figure he seemed to be.

I do remember feeling so moved by the connotations attached to the poppy, I innocently figured at seven-years-old that I would be “extra patriotic” if I wore two of them.

Having one on either side of my chest did not elicit the positive reactions I thought I would get; I recall being puzzled at why my efforts were deemed so distasteful – even becoming temporarily frightened of that time of year.

READ MORE: Ryan’s Regards: What are the scariest happenings this Halloween season?

Today, legions are emptying and poppy sales are dropping.

When tasked with tracking down someone who served in the Second World War to profile – I could count the suggested names to speak with on one hand.

Now more than ever, I hear the anger and fear from people who say kids these days will never understand the sacrifices made by our Veterans; the horrors they faced and the lives lived during such grim times.

I completely agree; they won’t.

But I can’t help but think that was what Veterans were fighting for in the first place, right? If anything, the peace of today acts as some sort of silver lining.

I know these are all difficult notions to grapple with.

It’s bittersweet and the loss of our most immediate connection, our Veterans, is an inevitable future than doesn’t make it any easier to find an answer on what to do.

We can’t blame new Canadians and younger generations for not understanding something they seem so far removed from today, but at the same time, we can never let them forget what happened.

The problem is that our history becomes the responsibility of each individual to carry forward from the classroom; everyone has the choice to remain grateful and keep the memory of the fallen soldiers alive.

Perhaps there is a silver lining there too and this is a call to younger readers.

The ones without Veteran relatives who learned their stories through text books and well meaning school assemblies, that will soon take the flaming torch that is Remembrance Day.

We know what our Veterans did overseas when they were called to fight.

What we have to figure out now is what that means to us and what we’ll do when their names and stories begin to disappear.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@aldergrovestar.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

AldergroveRemembrance Day

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

xx
BREAKING: Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

(Black Press Media files)
‘Potentially damaging’ winds expected in Metro Vancouver

Wind is expected to pick up late Sunday night

A hand-drawn ‘stairway to heaven’ was part of an memorial left for a cyclist who died from a medical emergency near 206 Street and 66 Avenue on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Children leave memorial for cyclist who died in Langley

‘Hope you make it to heaven’ the note reads

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks to reporters from B.C. legislature. (B.C. government/Special to The Star)
Ryan’s Regards: You’re not a lesser person

Premier Horgan’s simple words about the virus are necessary for all to hear

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Abbotsford Police Department is investigating a shooting on Adair Avenue on Saturday night. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)
Drive-by shooting in Abbotsford targeted home with young children, police say

Investigators believe home was mistakenly targeted by assailants

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

(File photo)
Vancouver police warn of toxic drug supply after 7 people overdose at one party

Seven people between the ages of 25 to 42 were taken to hospital for further treatment.

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

Most Read