Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Lest we forget

Students need to show more respect for our veterans

Poppy. Photo by Angela Gzowski
Lest we forget. Photo by Angela Gzowski

As Remembrance Day approaches, the issue of respect towards our veterans always arises. The purpose of Remembrance Day is quite obvious to some, but for younger generations, the meaning behind the day can be lost or conflicted.

Since I can remember, Remembrance Day has always been a big deal. In elementary and high school, our schools would hold assemblies, and contests for posters, poems or stories, and the drama club would perform a play that all of the local veterans would attend. Respect was not an issue; we all knew our place.

As I look around at my fellow university students, I see a lot of proud Canadians and people living here from all over the world who are happy to be spending their time in Canada. It gives me hope that our society still views the red poppy we wear as more than a mere fashion statement. It makes me believe people are proud to live in a country so “glorious and free.” But then there are moments when all it take is one person to cause some doubt on the meaning of Remembrance Day for the younger generations.

I was sitting in one of my classes at Dalhousie while waiting for the professor to arrive. I overheard some students talking about the long weekend in November, and how many days off Dal students would receive. When one of the students learned it was going to be a four-day weekend, he became excited and suggested that maybe he could binge-drink the whole weekend, saying, “Well, you know, in honour of the veterans.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So many years of learning how to behave toward our praiseworthy veterans who fought for Canada, and this is the comment one of our students makes? No one disagreed with him. In fact, his comment was followed by laughter.

In a country where we live in freedom and are relatively unburdened by some of the major issues that occur in other parts of the world, I think a lot more respect is needed for our veterans. We are talking about people who lived through horrific conditions from which I doubt anyone could fully recover. In some cases, they even gave their lives for our freedom. These people were far braver than I could ever dream of being, and it brings a tear to my eye to write this and contemplate everything our veterans have had to overcome.

For those who need to show a bit more respect, take a moment to think about all that you have. Think about what was sacrificed for you to live in the conditions you live in today. And to the majority of us who take Remembrance Day seriously and honour it with the utmost respect: lest we forget.

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