The official Canadian national ceremonies are held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario, according to a strict protocol. Naturally, the poppy is the most recognizable symbol of Remembrance Day. The pins are offered by war veterans and other volunteers in exchange for a donation in the days leading up to November 11th. (And there is some debate as to when it is deemed proper to start wearing that poppy emblem on your left lapel. Traditionalists state that you may as soon as the annual "poppy drive" commences; to immediately following the Remembrance Day Ceremonies. But of course, you could also wear one all year long if you so wished.)
As most of us also know, the poppy's significance stems from when poppy fields grew over top of the graves of fallen soldiers in Flanders, France. The poem, In Flanders Fields, written by Canadian John McCrae has become synonymous with Remembrance Day and is recited at many of the ceremonies. Another tradition I am fond of in Ottawa, although not an "official act", is the laying of poppies upon the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier.
The Veterans' Affairs Canada website has a "Remembrance Challenge:" posed via the question, "How Will You Remember?"
Make remembrance more than
something you feel.
Make it something you do.
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As for myself, I have endeavoured to teach my children the seriousness and solemness of the ceremonies. You don't realize how long 2 minutes of silence truly is until you ask a 7 year old boy, a 4 year old girl, and a squirmy toddler to observe it. My eldest, Monkey Boy, is beginning to understand, as he has participated in enough ceremonies at school now. I know it is a little beyond them at this age --- of course it is, they have the privilege and luxury of not knowing war! All the more reason why you must stand quiet and still my young 'uns! They must grow to understand and appreciate those who have served their country; and often paid the ultimate price.
So I ask you today dearest chatters: How Will You Remember?
How do you honor our heroes: those who have fallen, and those still standing a post?