Working with my students in the areas of Critical thinking and building Criteria, I thought that Remembrance Day would make for some great exercises. For me Remembrance Day is a day of reflection, of remembering and a day to honor and give thanks for the Men and Women who gave their lives and who continue to put their lives on the line so that I may enjoy many of the freedoms I have. For years I have taught students about the many battles, wars and sacrifices that the Men and Women of our armed forces were in and made. In addition I have highlighted the current duties and participation of the same individuals in current conflicts.
This year, however I chose to take another approach to focusing on Remembrance Day/Veterans Day. Instead of simply looking at the sacrifices, tragedies and suffering that was and is endured. I asked the question
“Why should or do we take two minutes out of the year to remember silently?”
However, before taking answers from the kids, I asked them to quietly watch the following video, that was created a few years ago.
After showing the video, I once again asked the question. I got the usual answers of “because there were wars”, “to remember those that died”, “to pray for those who are still fighting” and even the response “because that is what you are supposed to do”. Before I was able to ask some more questions I heard one of my shyer students softly say :
“To show RESPECT“
I asked to repeat herself a little louder so that everyone could hear her and she did. I was so proud. This is when, not I but one of my kids said “Shawn, there are two R’s for Remembrance Day – Remember and Respect” to which I joyously agreed “Yes, you are absolutely correct”.
The learning lesson for myself came to me while I was reflecting on the day on the drive home. I often participate in activities on November 11th. Showing that I remember and respect those that serve our great country, but I have never actually said it out loud. So before getting home, I stopped at a neighbors house, walked up to the door and rang the door bell. Cedric answered the door (don’t worry I have known Cedric for a few years now) I stretched out my hand to shake his and he reciprocated and as we shook hands I said THANK YOU. You see Cedric is a member of The Canadian Armed Forces and in the six years I have known him he has severed on three out of country missions. Cedric simply smiled back and said, Thank You.