On Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., people across Canada and other commonwealth countries will pause for two minutes of silence to commemorate the end of the First World War and honour the lives it took. Over the years, the day has expanded to include those from the Second World War as well.
Now, 100 years after the armistice was signed in 1918, is Remembrance Day still relevant?
Yes. And according to Historica Canada, 82 per cent of Canada’s population agrees.
In the organization’s 2015 Remembrance Day poll, it found that despite varying views on whether the younger generation understands the significance, the majority say the day is still as relevant today as it was in 1918.
And why shouldn’t it be?
The fact that it’s been a century does not make our war heroes’ sacrifices any less valuable or memorable. And for those who say, ‘Well, 99 per cent of the people you’re honouring have already passed,’ that’s true.
The last living veteran of the First World War, John Babcock, died at age 109 on Feb. 18, 2010. But so have many other important people whose contributions made a huge difference in our history — and not just in Canada.
In Jamaica, National Heroes’ Day is a crucial part of that country’s historical identity. The heroes it celebrates all died before 1978, including Nanny of the Maroons, who died in 1755 after playing a crucial role in empowering slaves to fight back against British colonizers. Yet every year, without fail, the celebrations continue.
That’s because it’s not merely a celebration of the heroes’ lives. It’s a celebration of how their contributions paved the way for the life we live today and the one we want our children to live tomorrow.
Veterans Affairs of Canada’s stance is to ensure “the memory of their efforts and sacrifices will not die with them and that an appreciation of the values they fought for will live on in all Canadians.”
Our veterans paid the ultimate price and their legacy deserves to live on.