Tomorrow, the Royal Canadian Legion begins its annual Poppy Campaign. Under normal circumstances, our staff and cadets would be participating in the campaign, giving due consideration to what it means, and taking the opportunity to learn from our veterans about their experiences in times of conflict. Many of these opportunities aren’t going to be available this year due to the constraints of COVID-19 preparedness, but it is still our responsibility to take the time to think of what it all means.
Tales of war will fill our consciousness over the next few weeks, not because we give these things any kind of reverence or glory themselves, but because of the people who were and are willing to give everything for their loved ones, their communities, and their country. The Poppy and Remembrance are not about war, though war figures into the stories. They are about ensuring that the memory of war remains strong enough that we know it for the horror that it is. They are about holding everlasting respect for those who are willing to step up and do what their country calls them to do, without knowing the sacrifices that might have to be made for it. They are about knowing those sacrifices as our own, remembering the losses as our own losses, and feeling the pain that our veterans live with each day as our own pain.
Remembrance is about more than the consideration of the memories and sacrifices of others. It is about ensuring that these are always a part of who we are. It is about making them immortal.
From tomorrow until Remembrance Day on 11 November, the Poppy is to be worn on cadet and CAF uniforms, and I encourage everyone to consider its deeper significance while they wear it.
I’ll leave you with the Royal Canadian Air Force’s video production of HCol Loreena McKennitt‘s “Breaking of the Sword” to set the tone for the next weeks.
Be safe. Stay healthy. Remember.
809 Newark RCACS