Katie Lin, Staff Writer
Remembrance Day, also known as the Poppy Day, is observed on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year. It has been a memorial day in Canada for the soldiers who sacrificed their lives on duty ever since the end of World War I. By wearing poppy pins, we show our utmost respect to those who bravely fought on the battlefield. It is worth noting is that WWI actually ended on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleven month. The majority of the countries in the world recognize this day, and remember the soldiers who fought in the war and those who died in it.
As we think of Remembrance Day, we often associate it with poppies. Why are poppies such an important part of the Remembrance Day ceremony? Well, the history behind the poppy dates back to 1918. During the first World War, a young Canadian soldier, John McCrae, witnessed his friend’s death on the battlefield. Motivated by grief and disbelief, he decided to write the poem “In Flanders Fields”, describing how poppies are the first flowers to grow on a soldier’s grave. The poem was published three months after McCrae wrote it. Immediately, a woman named Moina Rachel was inspired by McCrae’s poem, and wore a red silk poppy flower pin to the YWCA Overseas War Secretaries’ conference. She distributed the rest of the poppy pins to others partaking in the conference. The idea of wearing poppy flower pins in memorial of those who fought in the wars quickly spread after that, and in no time, the veterans groups in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand had adopted it. Now, the poppies are an essential part of the Remembrance Day ceremony.
Now that the meaning behind Remembrance Day and the poppies are clear, what can we do to pay our respects on Remembrance Day? Well, it is strongly recommended that we all participate in a Remembrance Day ceremony in Edmonton. Take some time off, give a few minutes of silence on November the 11th, and think about those who were sacrificed in order to keep Canada strong and free. Perhaps wear a poppy pin to show your respect for Remembrance Day; perhaps donate some money, and perhaps find a veteran or a soldier and thank them from the bottom of your heart.
Remembrance Day is certainly a day to never forget; we must pay our utmost respect to those who gave up their lives to keep us safe and free. As the great José Narosky once stated, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”