Perspective

My goal really was to post this yesterday, because it’s about Nov.11, but between working, driving four hours in different directions, visiting friends and this thing called sleeping, I didn’t get to it. Though I thought about cheating again and putting in a placeholder.

Remembrance Day, for me, conjures up images of the first and second world wars, though I realize the day is for all veterans, including the Korean War, the war in Afghanistan and peacekeeping missions (and anything else I might have missed). My great-grandfather fought in WWII, but he was one of the vets who wouldn’t talk about it.

Military history fascinates me. I’m more interested in the social aspects, though I took a WWII class in university and wrote my term paper on how geography and geology affected some of the battles, which was interesting (looked at weather patterns, etc). Sometimes we would ask my great-grandmother to convince him to talk about it, but like I said, he didn’t want to talk about it.

Still, it’s history that is still fairly tangible to me.

Schools here got a four-day weekend with Remembrance Day; Friday was the stat, coupled with parent-teacher interviews on Thursday and the regular weekend. I heard some schools got Wednesday off as well. But other schools held their ceremonies on Wednesday, including one of the middle schools, and I went to go shoot some pictures.

When they played the slideshow, accompanied by a recording by Bryan Adams, I was standing off to the side, so it was hard to see some of the images clearly, but from what I could see, I was a little confused at first.

Whoever put the show together had mixed military and war images in with photos taken of students around the school — my best guess is that they were trying to illustrate that because of the wars fought, the students could be the way they were in the photos.

The second thing that I noticed was the images of Sept.11. Remembrance Day, for me, conjures up the classic images of the first and second world war, though I realize I’m missing the Korean War and peacekeeping missions, among others. But for those kids, Sept.11 is much more tangible to them than something that happens decades ago. I mean, I was their age when it happened; they would have been under five years old.

Obviously, I’m not part of a military family; unlike the media coverage I’ve seen of the world wars, it doesn’t feel like we’ve been at war for the past 10 years, though I’m sure it’s certainly felt different for those families with soldiers.

I was talking to someone from the legion after the ceremony here, and he made a comment that it’s just recently that the young guys coming back from Afghanistan are starting to identify themselves as vets — it’s always been the guys in their 80s, 90s, that are the vets. Not anymore.

My least favourite part of any Remembrance Day ceremony is the laying of the wreaths, for selfish reasons. It takes so long. (Although this time I’d have to say my least favourite part was trying to pretend I was at least paying a little attention to the very, very preachy minister who seemed to have lost all sight of why he was speaking at a Remembrance Day ceremony and turned it into his own little “come be saved” sermon.)

But on the other hand, I have to say it’s good, that the the laying of the wreaths takes so long. Whatever is tangible history to you, we still remember.

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