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

Vanguard Secondary School is set to receive $3.8 million in seismic upgrades. The upgrades are scheduled to be complete by March 2023. (Joanne Abshire/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley school to receive $3.8 million seismic upgrade

Project scheduled to be completed March 2023

Vancouver Giants celebrated a Justin Sourdif goal Saturday night in Kamloops. Giants dropped a 3-1 decision to Kamloops, a game that clinched the 2020-21 B.C. Division banner for the Blazers. (Allen Douglas/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Vancouver Giants drop 3-1 decision to Kamloops

Third-period rally should have come sooner: coach

James Kennedy Elementary (undated file)
COVID cases reported at three more Langley schools

James Kennedy Elementary, Simonds Elementary/U-Connect and Langley Secondary

Monica Newman has been part of the Langley Walk for more than 40 years, both as a participant and more recently as a volunteer, collecting badges for each year. (Langley Advance Times files)
59th annual Langley Walk goes virtual again

For the second year running, the historic community event has had to morph due to COVID

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

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

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read