I have always been an extremely patriotic Canadian. I was embarrassed one year to have a college student ask me if I was American because I was talking so passionately about subjects that usually Canadians are not passionate about. I couldn’t believe that being patriotic was such a foreign concept that people couldn’t conceive that a Canadian could be it. I do not understand how you can look at Canadian history and all the things Canadians have done and stood for over the years and fail to be patriotic. Canadians are known for their courage and determination and I am so proud to be called a Canadian.
November 11 is just a few days away now and what better time to show your patriotism than on this particular day.
For those who are reading from other countries, November 11 is the day we honour the fallen men and women from war. November 11 was chosen because it was the day that Germany signed the armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car at the end of World War I. It was signed at 11:00 am and, at that time, we take a minute of silence. Sometimes it’s two minutes depending on who is moderating it. We wear a poppy in honour of the blood that was shed during this terrible war…and all the wars that followed. It comes from the poem, In Flanders’s Fields, written by an army doctor, John McCrae. McCrae fought during the epic second Battle of Ypres where the enemy launched one of the first ever chemical attacks in history. Many of the men died and were buried in this area of Flanders. McCrae noticed how quickly the poppies grew up around the graves of the fallen men and wrote this poem. (see poem here)
In previous years I have stood with other men and women at memorials and cenotaphs, listening to veterans, standing through the moment of silence. But, honestly, I have to admit that I no longer do. I found that those who came had no real respect for the ceremonies and it was extremely distracting to have people talking around me and showing clear disrespect for the national anthem, prayer, and even the moment of silence! Even when I lived in a military town, where those who attended were soldiers in uniform, I was saddened at the complete lack of respect that should be shown during this hour of ceremony. I choose now to stay at home and often find something online to watch. It’s laughable that Canadians are making such a big stink about Christmas decorations and music going up before November 11 when they don’t even show respect anyways. I listen to Christmas music before November 11 and I, honestly, do not have a problem putting a wreath on my door before November 11 (although I haven’t this year because I don’t have one). That is one of the freedoms that those men and women fought for me to have. They didn’t fight in order to impose more rules and laws on me. I can respect their service to my country and display decorations at the same time. And interestingly enough, most veterans agree with me! Coming down off my soap box now (rolls eyes and sighs).
But, really, please hear what I am saying and, please teach your children to show respect, especially at this time of year. Without these men and women we wouldn’t have such a wonderful country to live in. So teach your children to stand at attention during the national anthem. Teach them to stand quietly with heads bowed during prayer. Teach them to think about the fallen while the bugler plays during the moment of silence. And lastly, teach them to respect the veterans and to show honour to them (and really, to all their elders).
Today, I wanted to share with you some resources to teach your children about November 11 and also ways you can show the men and women of our armed forces that you appreciate them at this time of year and as we move into the Christmas season. Hopefully you can use these tools to help your children understand why we celebrate November 11.
Thank you to The Canadian Homeschooler for sharing many of these (and you can check out her page for more ideas)
1. War Games: The Canadian War Museum has put together this interactive game called Over the Top where you get to choose the fate of your soldier through a storyline question and answer. It’s kind of neat but would probably be best for school-aged children. Those learning to read would be able to play it with parental guidance but I think it would be over the heads of younger children. I think this is a wonderful resource to teach children about the realities of war. It’s not a video game…your character doesn’t have 3 lives.
2.Formal teaching: The Canadian Legion has a good resource on teaching the aspects of Canadians in war, important Canadian symbols, and Remembrance Day themes.
Veterans Day Canada has a great list of resources as well. I can’t wait until my children are old enough to use some of these.
Here is a copy work printable for handwriting time, of the poem, In Flander’s Fields, from Activity Village. It’s printing not handwriting, just so you know. (check out the rest of their Remembrance Day worksheets and free printables – love the idea of cutting out the sheet of poppies for Little Man to make a wreath with.)
3. For young children you check out DLTK’s website on Remembrance Day/Veterans Day. They have crafts, games, colouring pages, puzzles, and more. I’m going to be printing some off for Little Man to colour and we’ll display them in our window on November 11.
Here is a great list of printables from Poppytime.com
4. Craft Ideas: Here is a neat thumbprint poppy painting idea.
Here are a bouquet of poppies from muffin liners (go looking for red ones now!)
I love this idea for a stained glass poppy using contact paper and red tissue paper
I also had the thought that you can make a melted bead poppy using red and black plastic beads. If I do it and it works out I’ll post it on the Facebook page, haha.
I hope these ideas will aid you in helping your children learn about Remembrance Day this year. I am really looking forward to having Little Man do some of these with me.