First, I would like to commend the citizens of Sooke for their response to this year’s Legion Poppy Campaign. Our efforts raised more than $22,000, up over 16 per cent from last year. There were more people attending the cenotaph ceremony, and more visitors to the Legion premises that any of us could remember. For all of that, Thank you Sooke, for your generosity, caring, and support.
Secondly, and sadly, I bring up one issue of concern that did arise. This is the somewhat feeble response by our students to the Legion’s Poster and Literary contest. Each year we ask students from Grade one to Grade 12 to draw, or write a poem or essay depicting their thoughts on Remembrance. Of our six schools, one had a reasonable number of entries, four others had a small number, while one had no response at all. Add to that two entries came late, but were accepted due to the limited response, and three posters did not meet the limited size clearly stated on the entry form. Total entries -14. Eligible for judging -10.
There are many dates in Canadian history of great significance. Certainly July 1, 1867 ranks at the top. However, November 11, 1918, May 8, 1945, and Aug 15, 1945 should be on this list. These dates mark the end of World Wars, or theatres of war in which many (117,000) Canadian men and women died to preserve the freedoms of this country. Without their sacrifices Canada would not be the great country we live in today.
I do not think it is too much to ask for our younger generations to be taught the significance of Remembrance within the history of Canada. We owe, not only those who gave their lives, but also those who survived our most heartfelt “Thanks”. For those who died, the only thing we can give them is Remembrance. Think of it as our tribute to the heroes of history. Those who returned home did so as different people. One cannot see war without being affected.
I have talked before about the post baby-boom generations and their dedication to Remembrance Day. It would seem that when we are attacked close to home, reaction is great. Otherwise, starting next year, it may be just “another day off”. I plead with all generations, do not let this be that insignificant.
Lest We Forget.
Chair, Sooke Legion Poppy Committee