Passing on the importance of Remembrance Day

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to start passing on a very important message to Lilly. I say ‘start’ because let’s face it, there is only so much attention span a toddler has at a parade, especially one that has no candy or Santa.

Adam and I took Lilly out to her first Remembrance Day parade and ceremony and got to share in her experience as she took it all in. She tried to sing along to the bag pipes, ordered ‘March! March!’ as the vets, officers, etc, passed us and clapped after each stage. It was adorable.

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Lilly watching the ceremony from her vantage point on
Daddy’s shoulders.

This is one of the special things we do as Canadians that I have always known I wanted to share with my kids. Obviously it is something that is observed and taught from a young age in our school systems, but for me personally, I always had a greater tie to it.

I started in Air Cadets when I was quite young and got very into the patriotic spirit of it. I met many veterans over the years, marched with them and got to know them. On top of that, everyone in my family is a natural born history buff, so we tend to be drawn to learning more and getting lost in the ‘story’ so to speak.

My patriotic spirit didn’t dampen at all as I got older and instead is part of what pushed me into politics at a younger age than most. It is due to my involvement that I actually often have an active roll to play at the local Remembrance Day ceremony. As the Federal President for the Simcoe North NDP, I have typically offered to be the representative to place our wreath at one of the ceremonies that happen within our riding. It is a great feeling to actually walk up to the cenotaph and feel like I am contributing in some way.

This year, with her full fledged walking and talking, I decided that I would take Lilly and ask her to give me a hand with my duty. To her, it meant placing ‘the flowers’ on the ‘big rock’. That’s fine. Whatever gets her into it ;)

When the called our Riding Executive’s name, I told Lilly it was our turn and we walked over to the soldier who was holding our wreath. Normally I would carry it and place it myself, but since I was holding the hand of an overly excited toddler, the soldier graciously offered to do it for me while we just walked beside him. I took him up on it, as I was more focused on making sure Lilly didn’t try to grab any of the other ‘flowers’ while we were up there…

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Marching after the closing of the ceremony. We’d crossed the street by then &
Lilly stood in front of us yelling ‘March!’ and stomping her feet.

Lilly wore a very proud smile after, exclaiming ‘there our flowers mommy!’ and pointing. This made me smile proudly back at her.

I know with the recent election in the US, there has been a lot of online chatter about just how open and active children should be when it comes to politics and community involvement. For me personally, I know I want my children to be very aware and outgoing when it comes to being knowledgeable and making a difference. Remembrance Day might just be one small step, but Lilly has also been to elections offices with me, joined me for riding association meetings and been a bit of light entertainment while on the campaign trail. While she might not really pay attention yet, we do make sure the news is on just before supper time and she sits with Daddy on a Saturday morning and ‘reads’ the paper.

In my opinion, if we work to instill an active and aware nature in our children, we will deliver a more aware and active society as they grow up. I guess for me, one more way that I can make a change in the world is to pass that desire to make a change onto my children.

Ideally speaking, this will be a tradition that she will continue to take pride in and next year, she might just get to place the wreath herself.

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