Throughout life, there are said to be many experiences that cannot be fully understood unless one has gone through them on a personal level.
Whether it be childbirth or the tragic loss of a partner or child, empathy can only go so far when trying to place oneself in another’s shoes.
Perhaps the most difficult to imagine of any experience is that of our war veterans. Many of them will have seen and survived more circumstance than we will ever know in our lifetime.
And so, every year on November 11, we as a society come together to honour and recognize that experience.
Children line up in school auditoriums to learn about trials and tribulations they will (hopefully) never face; hiding in trenches, flying in fighter planes and taking the life of another human being.
The veterans, though they may never be able to share their entire experiences, are an integral part of keeping the past alive, in the hopes that it may never be repeated again.
And every year that Remembrance Day passes, these living, breathing pieces of our country’s history get a little bit older, and we become even more detached from what is important.
So this week, whether you’re standing at the Ladysmith cenotaph, observing a two minute silence at work or school , or donning the symbolic red poppy of Remembrance Day, take the time to appreciate and remember the experiences and sacrifices made by veterans both past and present.
They don’t expect you to understand, but as long as we remember, we are paying forward the spirit and the memory of the sacrifices made by those before us.
— Niomi Pearson