Everyone’s experience with Remembrance Day is different, depending on your generation, family, traditions and your personal experience with war. A small group of students at LCBI had an opportunity share a special experience as it connected with Remembrance Day 2015. These students went to Europe on an EF History trip in May 2015, and visited battlefields and memorials in Europe. Here are some thoughts from students who went on the trip and from a student who did not.
“Remembrance Day has always been memorable to me; reciting ‘Flanders Fields’ and watching wartime videos, to hearing bagpipers and Veterans speak to schools has impacted me. It made me empathetic to the people who give up so much for us. For myself it is hard to connect with Remembrance Day on a deep and personal level, as I have never been through a war, seen a war or known someone who fought in a war. I love my country deeply, and I know that it would not be the same without the people who protected it and our people. I deeply admire Veterans and soldiers lost in battle; their bravery and sacrifice is truly immeasurable. I hope we always wear red poppies, hear ‘Flanders Field’ and take time to reflect on our past, as a nation and the world. Personally, I wish we could thank Veterans everyday like how we do on Remembrance Day. I wish there was more counseling for soldiers with PTSD. Let’s thank our soldiers and their families for the millions of lives saved as a result of their contributions. -Jillian Knull, Grade 12 LCBI student
“Remembrance Day means more to me now because of my History trip last year to Europe, where I visited many places where Canadians soldiers fought for freedom. Rather then reading it from a textbook or seeing it in pictures, I saw first hand where strategic battles were fought and how thousands of soldiers died protecting the allies from the Nazi regime. I realized the direct impact that Canadian soldiers had on the Europeans; simply just from the way they honored them with daily Remembrance services and keeping the cemeteries immaculate. So many people, not just the older but especially the younger generations, participated in these events, honoring those who had died for their freedom and country. They understand how important it was to their own history, and how different the story would have been had the Canadian fighters not come to their aid. Some of the young men’s names I saw etched in the gravestones who were close to my own age specifically touched me, as I could have been in their shoes, fighting in the trenches, on the shores of Juno beach, and on the frontier of Vimy Ridge. This trip made me feel so proud to be a Canadian and see how the soldiers selflessly gave their lives for a cause that was not even on their own home soil. So now when I hear the trumpet call on Remembrance Day, I can picture the war more clearly as I remember the battlefields, feel the wind from the ocean breeze, and understand the impact Canadians had in bringing peace to the world.” –Joshua Clark, Grade 12 LCBI student
What does remembrance mean to me since having been to Europe?
“ Growing up I understood why we celebrated Remembrance Day; it was to honour the Veterans. I never took the time (as a child) to truly understand what those men and women did for us, what they still do for us. Going to Europe we visited several WWI and WWII cemeteries. Seeing hundreds and hundreds of graves but made me realize that these men and women died for my freedom, to protect my country and others. Since then I have had mixed feelings of sadness, guilt and patriotism. I feel proud and joyful that I can live in a country like Canada, but deep sadness because so many lives had to be lost for you and I to live freely. That is why I remember them. They will never be forgotten.” -John Baier, Grade 12 LCBI Student