I know that many of us do not dwell long on the meaning of this day. After all, so many can’t or don’t understand without having to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. But why can’t we? Why can’t we put ourselves in their position?
I know that when I was younger, I was particularly ignorant. All those Remembrance Day assemblies didn’t do much to educate me. I was too young to know or to care. I saw Remembrance Day as just another stat holiday, another day off from school, a day I could just spend at home with my parents. In a way, this is what today is about. It’s about appreciating the fact that you have the luxury to take a day off, to spend it with loved ones and to remember that those who fought for us, for our freedoms, past, present, and future did not have that luxury. They may not have been in the news as often as they have in the past, but that does not diminish their importance.
However, there is one thing about this day I never considered. For some of our veterans, this day is a day filled with triggers. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to remember and relive the atrocities and horrors that they have seen. How hard it is for some to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies. So while we honour our heroes on this day, remember that they are just like you and me. That they deserve love and affection like everyone else. And we should not let stereotypes of what we think a soldier should be to cloud our perception of the great things they have done for this country. Sometimes all we need is someone to be there, to look past the imperfections, and to understand that we do not fit into a box that our professions, genders, and so forth force us into.
So yes, today we have a day off, but don’t forget why. Don’t forget the sacrifices that our loved ones have made-the ones that have left us and the ones that have returned-and what it all means.