I woke up today and made the decision to go to the Remembrance Day Ceremony.
I unwrapped myself from the Sherpa Blanket, messily made my bed, sauntered my way to my 15-minute long hot shower, applied my favourite strawberry body butter, and haphazardly threw my soaking-wet hair into two, uneven French braids.
A veteran woke up today and decided to take part in that ceremony. They proudly donned their best-dress uniform. They polished their shoes, their medals, and placed everything with the precision taught to them in the days of yesteryear. They join brothers and sisters as they march, remembering friends and loved ones they may have witnessed lose their lives, telling and sharing stories of the terrors of war but the bonds of brotherhood.
Somebody else woke up today and made the decision to defend and support our country. They woke up, mostly dressed and ready to go for PT. They made their beds to perfection, they may have had to tightly throw their bed-ruined hair back into a sock-bun, gel, and hairspray it into place. After PT they would have gone back to their barracks, showered and changed into prescribed uniform, appearance, and grooming codes and hit the mess for their food before working.
Others didn’t wake up today.
They had decided to serve and unfortunately paid the ultimate sacrifice. Some had served, came back to civilian life and couldn’t cope.
Today mothers are waking up mourning their children, husbands grieving over wives, a sibling separated from their best friend overseas.
I have been born and given a life in this freedom I personally did not earn. The freedom to choose, to be who I am, to do what I want to do, to work, to play, to love who I want to love. The freedom to wake up today.
I have been born in a time where I am able to be naïve, ignorant, and where I can choose to turn a blind eye to the privilege I have, that was paid for by some lives who may never be identified.
We civilians are not asked much in return for our freedoms. We are asked for small donations in return for a symbol of remembrance: a poppy. A symbol which we are only asked to wear for less than a fortnight. We are asked to observe and remember. To participate in a moment of silence on the 11th hour. We are asked to hold off on decorating for Christmas and letting it consume our lives for a simple 11 days post Halloween. We are asked to remember, recognize, and understand the selflessness of those who don’t know us, but choose to represent and defend us anyways.
It was cold today. -12 with windchill and snowing. Those clad in kilts willing their socks be higher and soldiers pressing their caps to their scalps forcing an extra mm of coverage. The hypnotic rhythm of the march, crunching the snow in unison en route to the ceremony. Those from each military branch, veterans, those in reserves, RCMP, cadets, guides and scouts all representing a piece of national unity with The Canadian flag and The Union Jack flowing in tandem, leading the way.
Today, I woke up and made the decision to go to the Remembrance Day ceremony.
Today, a veteran woke up and decided to be part of a ceremony.
Today, somebody made the decision to defend and support our country.
Today, others didn’t wake up.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.“
-Robert Laurence Binyon