Why do we Remember on Remembrance Day.
Remembrance Day is a day usually celebrated in Canada and the commonwealth to commemorate their members of the armed forces who have died in combat. I am aware that some students in Engineering are from other countries; some of you may have another name for remembering your veterans, but here in Canada it’s known as Remembrance Day.
Every year on November 11, we celebrate Remembrance Day to pay our respects for our fallen armed forces members. For those not familiar with Remembrance Day, or those who would like to read about the day, I will give you some information about this particular date.
The origins of Remembrance Day can be traced back to the armistice at the end of World War I. On the eleventh hour, the eleventh day, the eleventh month, the fighting and World War I has ended. And on this date, it was known as Armistice day. After World War 2 it was changed to what we currently know as Remembrance Day.
Every year, there are ceremonies held during Remembrance Day or the weekend before. Most of these ceremonies have local veteran’s groups, military branches, police, and cadets participate in the ceremony. However, everyone is welcome to attend one as these ceremonies are open to the public. The ones that we had in Waterloo included the on-campus Remembrance Day ceremony on November 10, and the one at Waterloo Cenotaph on November 11.
One important part of the ceremony is the playing of Last Post and the Rouse. The Last Post is a bugle call that usually signifies the end of a day, while the Rouse signifies the beginning of the day starting at sunrise. During the Remembrance Day ceremony, both the Last Post and Rouse were played with a two minute of silence in between. The significance of this tradition is that the Last Post and the Rouse signify both sunset and sunrise: death and resurrection.
As you may have noticed, there were students who wore the poppy during late October and early November. You may have asked (if you are not from Canada nor the commonwealth), why do people wear a red flower on their chest?
The reason why we wear the poppy is to remember those who fought and died during our past and current conflicts. Why specifically the poppy you may ask? During World War I, the red poppy was the first flower that grew on the carnage-filled battlefields where the graves of the fallen stood. However, there were also other colour variations of the poppy that could be worn during Remembrance Day, each with its own significance. One of them is the purple poppy, which symbolizes the animals that were wounded or killed during war. Another variation is the white poppy, which stands for pacifism and the aim to end all wars. However, these white and purple poppies are rare and are not seen as often as the red poppies.
According to the Royal Canadian Legion, there are a few protocols to wear a poppy properly. The poppy should be worn on the left side, over the heart. As a sign of respect, there should be no pins or plaques that obstruct the poppy, as the poppy is a sacred symbol of remembrance. After the Remembrance period, or after the ceremonies, the poppy should be properly disposed by laying it on a wreath or on a cenotaph. However, it is totally up to a person’s discretion to wear a poppy at all.
It is easy to obtain a poppy in campus during the Remembrance period. They are usually located in stores, and food places all around campus. Also, you may have saw that the poppy boxes ask for donations as well. The donations go towards Canadian veterans and families of veterans in need. By the time this article is published, Remembrance Day has past and there’s no need to wear one, right? Well, not quite. The poppy is not just limited to Remembrance Day, as it could be worn on any day of Remembrance, such as Vimy Ridge, Battle of Britain, and Battle of the Atlantic Day.
Remembrance Day is a day where we remember those who gave their lives for our country. Poppies were worn during the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day to honour those who fought and died for us.
Even though Remembrance Day has passed, we should still remember those who fought and died for us and our country. With their sacrifice, we can live in freedom and peace.