Gratitude / Life / Reflection

They Fought For Freedom

In the news lately: Edmonton students are allowed to opt out of Remembrance Day ceremonies at school.

This has so many people in a tizzy and to be honest I had to leave this for a bit so I could distance myself from the incredibly ignorant comments that were made. By some of the comments made, I understand why Alberta still has this stereotype of “redneck” associated with it. The sheer racism that poured forth as a result of this news story, was staggering. I am so sad to live in a world where this is still so predominant.

The veterans gave up their lives fighting for FREEDOM. Some of us seem to forget what freedom means. These people, who think that families should not be able to opt their child out of a school service, have me baffled. It is required they say. They must go. They must learn to respect our veterans. I guess I fail to see how being forced to attend a ceremony will bring out any amount of respect at all?

Today is November 11, and I still intend on being at a ceremony with my children. But I understand if you’re not. The weather is cold. People still have responsibilities that must be met. There will be programs on the radio, tv, and Internet so that we may feel like a part of the remembrance from the comfort of our own homes. You may of course simply choose not observe this day of remembrance, and that is completely within your rights as a Canadian. I personally think it’s important for us not to forget, but it’s my choice how I do that. After all, we do live in a free society.

The arrogance of many of these people, who want to push their opinions and ideas on those around them has me frustrated. They want to decide how MY child is educated? All these people demanding that students take part, will they be at a service today? I wonder how hypocritical all the criticizers are? I am thankful I live in Canada, where we are able to exercise our rights and freedoms. However, a part of that is dealing with your hypocrisy, your racism, your arrogance, and your ignorance. And to tell the truth, it gets rather tiresome.

Attending Remembrance day ceremonies in public school taught me nothing. They are typically services that kids really are just told they have to go to, and they fail to answer the big questions on the minds of children. A child now has a difficult time understanding that sacrifice as they simply don’t have that level of context of those growing up during the World Wars or in a currently war torn country or those with a close relative serving. They’ve either been too sheltered from the more violent aspects of this world (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) or they’ve been allowed to see war and violence glorified in the games we let them play on their gaming systems, and the films we let them watch. They are exposed to a level of violence that they are then desensitized to; they think it’s normal.

Sitting in a ceremony at school listening to poetry and having a minute of silence isn’t going to give them anymore insight into the history and the sacrifice. Perhaps the ceremonies have changed since I went to school? I can only hope. We can tell them to remember. But it’s much better if we answer the questions they have, openly and honestly, as best we can. If we want them to to watch and read about the people who served, why wouldn’t we encourage interviews, real life accounts, and auto/biographies of what these men and women went through? And stop promoting violence in their lives through the allowance of those video games and film (that’s my opinion, you are free to respectfully disagree). The conclusions I’ve come to about why it is important to remember and how we choose to do that, are ones I came to on my own, not anything I picked up in a public school ceremony.

So, thank you to all that have served, to those who do serve, and to the future generations that will serve. For my right to live my life FREE and raise my children in the way I see fit.

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