By Beatrice Broderick-Auger
You know those history projects we had to do when we were in high school? The ones we always thought, “Why the hell am I doing this, just give me a date to remember I’ll spit it back out on the exam et voila!” Well, one of those projects actually taught me something.
My Uncle Albert, during World War II, was torpedoed on a submarine in the Indian Ocean. He was the only survivor. After being washed up onto shore and rescued by Ceylonese fishermen, he started his long walk to a British camp. After seven days of walking alone he reached the camp. Back in England, where his wife lived he was declared “missing-presumed dead.” The British troops had found his fellow shipmates washed up along Indian shores dead.
This story was never told to me in person. Only after choosing my uncle, which I vaguely knew had such an inspiring war story, did I discover what his life was actually like back then. My uncle passed away a couple of years after I discovered his amazing story and to me he will always be remembered as a funny, loving, courageous man.
Today, November 11, we wear poppies to commemorate what the armed forces and the civilians endured during the first and second world wars. This date is the day where Germany signed the armistice which ended the First World War. “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” King George V declared that the members of the armed forces killed during the war should be remembered.
“We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes, their families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument.”
Every person has a history, every family has a history, and every country has a history. You may not know your country’s history and you may not know your family’s history but you most certainly know your own history. All the people before you that graced their presence on earth made this history possible. So let’s get to know that history and remember it. Today is the day we mark on our calendars to remember what those people did for us, but of course that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t remember every other day. It’s because of them that we have the world that we know of today. Thank you!