Friday, November 9, 2012

A Day For Remembrance & A Wish for Peace

No t-shirt today. It's the only foreseeable day where I see it necessary to break my blog mandate. Today was our school's Remembrance Day ceremony and I had neither a t-shirt appropriate for the day nor the desire to dress in anything other than the white top, black bottom and the poppy that we, in Canada, wear to commemorate the day.

My family has no documented connection to the wars as they are studied in Canada and my parents, both of who escaped to Taiwan from Communist China as refugees as small children, have never really discussed what their memories might be of that experience. My father's father fought against the Communist takeover at some point but my paternal grandmother never told me those stories before she passed away and I heard only snippets third hand from a cousin. My maternal grandparents have nothing to say on the topic either and time is running short on chances for us to ask, I guess. Somewhere along the way, though, I developed a deep sense of the privilege that my generation enjoys in the peace we have always known. I have good friends who are directly involved in Canada's military presence around the world and I have students who are barely able to stand in silence for two minutes between bugle calls. Today, it feels like there is more of a sense of the global landscape but a deeper disconnect between how we live and how we are able to live this way.

I learned the words to the poem "In Flanders Fields" in my Grade 2 class as a recitation that we performed as part of the service that year and have never been able to forget them. John McCrae's life was far removed from mine in space, time and experience and yet his words bring peace to my heart whenever I hear or speak them.