I don’t remember many things that happened when I was 2, but I remember this... There was a parade in my town. Someone in red uniform was riding a horse. My mom held my and my brother’s hands as we joined in the parade, and we all had a red poppy on our heart.
Growing up near Guelph, Ontario, the birthplace of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, Remembrance Day has always been very special to me. “In Flanders Fields”, the poem written by John McCrae during the First World War, was something we know and learn from a very young age. One of our favourite school trips is to McCrae House museum. Weeks leading up to Remembrance Day, Air, Sea, and Army cadets cover the city, handing out poppies, in support of the Royal Canadian Legion. We all are so proud to display our gratitude to our veterans and all the heroes currently serving our country, by wearing the poppies.
On Remembrance Day, my entire city comes together for a ceremony. We parade down the streets of Guelph, and lay wreathes in memory of those who died in the wars. At 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, we take 2 minutes of silence, to remember them. Lest We Forget.
I have been handing out poppies since I was 9, first in my Navy League Cadet uniform, and now in my Air Cadet uniform. At 11 years old, I started helping out at the Legion’s pre-Remembrance Day dinner, serving meals to our deserving veterans. This year, for the first time, I will be playing the tenor drum in the City’s Remembrance Day parade, marching with the Guelph Pipes Band and the Guelph Air Cadets Pipes and Drums. I can’t wait. It’s such an honour to get to be a part of something so meaningful.
Today, the average age of World War II veterans is 92. Their memories of the war may be fading, so it is up to us, the Youth of Canada, to keep these memories alive. The veterans and the stories of their sacrifices will never be forgotten, as long as we remember them.
Canada Remembers. Lest We Forget.
-- Written by Ashley Taylor