• Saturday , 28 January 2023

Lest We Forget

Last weekend I was leaving a grocery store where there were some people positioned outside to accept donations to the Poppy Fund, as you find at many busy retail stores in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day.

“Mommy, I want a poppy,” I heard a little girl say.

“You already have some poppy stickers. Besides, I don’t have a poppy, so you don’t need one either,” I heard an adult voice answer.

Of course, the woman was hauling grocery bags through a busy parking lot, so maybe this wasn’t the right moment for her. But to describe this interaction as a missed educational opportunity would be an extreme understatement.

Poppies are always free, but even if the mother didn’t want to take one without making a donation to the Poppy Fund, at the very least she could have used the opportunity to explain the significance of the poppy to her daughter.

This would have been a great moment to say that we wear a poppy to remember the sacrifice of brave soldiers, many just boys, who fought and died on foreign soil far from home and family so we could live in freedom today.

Instead, the daughter likely thinks she’s missing out on wearing an accessory everyone else seems to have.

What a shame.

While we are lucky to be living in peaceful times, elsewhere around the world many other people are not so fortunate and we should be proud of the Canadians who in many missions abroad have sacrificed themselves for others.

We should also be forever grateful to the men and women who have risked or given their lives for our freedom.

The last world war ended 74 years ago and there are still many Canadians alive today who lived through those times. But for many young people, those times must be unimaginable because thanks to their sacrifice, we enjoy a level of peace and prosperity that is unprecedented in modern history.

Hopefully none of us will ever have to experience food rationing or wearing a gas mask or any of the horrible realities of living in wartime.

And hopefully we never see a generation that forgets.

Joanne Layh

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