When I was little, I remember the long Remembrance Day assemblies where we would recite 'In Flanders Fields' and listen to a veteran tell a story about the war. My dad would always give me money for a poppy, and I felt important putting 'my' donation into the box as it was passed around. We would sit cross-legged on the gymnasium floor, trying hard not to giggle during the moment of silence. I knew that war was serious, and that 'old people' had fought and died in the war. Many of us had grandparents who were actually in 'the war', and while it felt very removed, it still felt relevant.
As a parent, Remembrance Day is an interesting learning experience. We are pretty open about what we tell our children, and leading up to today we spent quite a bit of time talking about war and freedom and what it means to live in Canada. I gave Soren a dollar before his school assembly, and he came home with a shiny poppy on his jacket that he didn't want to take off. He seems to find the idea of war really 'dumb', in his words. He can't quite figure out why people can't get along, and why they would ever want to kill each other.
We have a tradition now of attending a Remembrance Day service with my family. This year was warmer than most, typically we are trudging through snow. The kids were great throughout the ceremony - Poppy prays at daycare, so whenever a prayer was said she clasped her hands together and enthusiastically shouted out 'amen'. Soren has somehow learned to salute... It was a good day. A good day to wake up as a family and have a pj breakfast, a good day to walk outside, and a good day to bake a massive lasagna that sadly the kids didn't eat. There are so many little things that we have to be thankful for, and Remembrance Day is an opportunity to slow down and be proud to be Canadian.