Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada.  I asked some members of the congregation what that means to them.  Here are their replies.

Remembrance Day is a time to remember the soldiers who fought for us in the wars.  At school we have a minute of silence.  -- Peter, age 8

To me, Remembrance Day is a time of celebration and thanksgiving. It's the one day each year we all come together to thank those who have given their lives for our families, our country, and our freedom. It's a time to remember those who we have lost, and praise the ones who still stand. Remembrance Day is a time to rejoice for our soldiers and their bravery.
  -- Felicity, Senior Sunday School Class

Remembrance Day.  Whenever I think of that day, I think of my 18 year old son going to Afghanistan. He, like all the rest, went to make a difference in the lives of the people there. A lot different from our parents, and grandparents day, in the forces.
     I remember when my son was receiving the medal of dispatch and parents of fallen son's and daughter's were picking up medals on behalf of their lost children. It tore my heart out. I was a lucky Mother, one that did not have to deal with no child, or a child that will never be the same.
     I am thankful, praising God for looking after my son, who should have never come home, on many an occasion.
     I think that, unfortunately, the Devil is alive and well in this world. People  prey on the poor, and uneducated.  I hope that the people of this world become less selfish and that hatred between religions, regions and races ends.  God's word is what we have to remember, so that we can be strong, against those who want to cause harm. We as Christians need to stand and support our own so that when others are being harmed, we stand together and help. -- Darlene, Rentals Co-ordinator

Memories of Remembrance Day
      During our time in Ottawa, 1986 to 2000, public esteem of Remembrance Day seemed to change substantially. In the 80’s and early 90’s, there seemed to be a sense that war service and things military were somewhat low on the scale of public respect or recognition. During the next decade,that seemed to change and the sense of respect and the honour attributed to those Canadians who served in the “World Wars”, grew considerably.
     At that time in Ontario, Remembrance Day had ceased to be a public holiday for schools. As a result, each school had the opportunity to develop a Remembrance Day programme which would be meaningful to students.Our school had the advantage of tradition and many former students and staff had served in the military. We had a formal Remembrance Day Service to remember those who gave their lives in the service of Canada in the great wars. One of my tasks was to read the Roll of Honour recognizing those who paid the supreme sacrifice. On that Roll there were 40 young men who perished in World War One and 31 in World War Two. Each year, we welcomed back veterans who had served in these terrible wars, and our students were profoundly moved to spend time with these men who had served their country in the time of war. In the formal service, there was
always a sense of great reverence and respect as we remembered those who died in the wars.
     A few years ago, Dorothy and I had the opportunity to visit the battlefields in Belgium and Vimy Ridge, in France. Our appreciation of the tremendous sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of young men and women became all the more real. The white crosses, row upon row, in many different cemeteries, speak of the great sacrifice made by so many. This sacrifice was made that we may live in relative peace and we must remember those who gave so much.
     In B.C.,Remembrance Day is a public holiday (of sorts), and the schools are closed. For most young people it is just another holiday spent, perhaps,idly at the mall. In cities and small towns, there is usually a Remembrance
Day Service, often sparsely attended by young people. Would it not be better to have students in school where each school could develop a suitable programme to remember and recognize the sacrifice made so that we may live in a time of peace? As we read the obituaries today, that great generation of men and women who served in the Second World War is passing. Let us not forget.
 --Roy, elder at SPPC

What does Remembrance Day mean to me?

     It's all about recognizing and appreciating sacrifice.  I was fortunate enough to grow up in the decades where major onflicts did not call for a national call to arms but I never took for granted the price that was paid for that privilege.  My first experiences with veterans of these conflicts was when I worked at Metropolitan United Church; the ordinary, extraordinary worshippers who paraded at the Remembrance Day services with their medals and stories.  Combine that with the Biblical verse John 15:13 . . . no greater gift than to lay down one's life . . . and you see that the ceremony of remembrance becomes very personal.  I have been privileged to worship and work with many veterans; humbled to watch them parade and remember their comrades.  Attending church and cenotaph services is the very least I can do. -- Tore, choir member

Remembrance Day.  I cannot help but remember my father, who contributed to winning "The Great War" (WWI) in that he gave his eyesight and received twelve other shrapnel wounds.  I never heard him complain or grumble.  Mother never said to us children, "Your Daddy's having a bad day."  He was an example of courage and of being a wonderful father.  I had a hero for a father and a saint for a mother.  --Peter, aged 96

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