Remembrance Day is my Favourite Holiday

Remembrance Day is my favourite holiday.

It’s not like Christmas or Valentine’s Day or Halloween when our hyper-commercialized society explodes tenfold and everyone feels obligated to empty their pockets for toys and baubles and decorations.

Don’t get me wrong: Christmas is a great time of year to celebrate family and generosity, Valentine’s Day is a sweet idea in theory (although heart-shaped pillows and pink singing monkeys are a little unnecessary); Halloween is very practical in terms of keeping demons away. But these holidays are defined by trips to Wal-Mart and Target, credit card debt, and retail competition. Consumerism takes over, and I hate it.

Remembrance Day is my favourite holiday.

On Remembrance Day, there is no materialistic hunger or pressure to buy the perfect gift or have the best decorations. Remembrance Day has remained true to its original purpose: to set aside one day to purposefully remember what we should remember every day of the year.

November 11th has always held a particular resonance with me. As a child I raptly listened to the Last Post and the recitation of Flanders Field, watching the parade of local veterans and reading the names on the cold cenotaph.

The unity I’ve experienced with my community–and others across the country–on November 11th is the most intimate, touching, and emotional thing I’ve ever experienced. I wrote in a short story once that on Remembrance Day it’s as if we all stand in a glass dome thrown by the torch held by the soldier on the cenotaph, and no one wants to be the first to break it.

It’s my favourite holiday.

I was going to continue to write about how Remembrance Day is the best holiday, the most meaningful, and least commercialized.

I was going to write about how Christmas is celebrated from November 1st to January 1st, and how Halloween dominates the entire month of October–yet Remembrance Day gets one day, and perhaps you can count the ten days leading up to November 11th.

I was going to write about how important it is to celebrate Remembrance Day every day, to take the time to notice your local cenotaph and make conversation with your local veterans. I was going to write about all the things you already know.

This year Remembrance Day will be different here in Canada. It will be a little more real, a little more heartbreaking, and a little more proud. And by a little, I mean a lot.

So instead of writing 1000 words of everything you already know, I’m going to leave you with these:

Remembrance – Veterans Affairs Canada

The Royal Canadian Legion

Veterans’ Services | Capital Health

Fallen Canadians | National Defence | Canadian Armed Forces

Canadian Virtual War Memorial – Veterans Affairs Canada

Canadian Fallen Heroes | In Memoriam 

CBC: Remembrance Day 2014 -Show us how you will remember – #HowIRemember 

WW1 Remembrance Projects 

Canada and the First World War | Canadian War Museum

Canada and the Second World War | Canadian War Museum

Canada at War

In Flanders Field

The Cenotaph – a short story by Libby Schofield

If you have any other links or images you think I should include, please leave a comment, email me, or DM me on Twitter.

If you have written or created an online tribute for Remembrance Day and would like it linked here, feel free to send me the link and I’ll include it.

Please attend a Remembrance Day service if you can, and take a moment of silence on November 11th to remember.

                                    Lest we forget.

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