This November, like every year, I see people wearing a red poppy on the streets of Victoria: old and young. A stranger asked me one day – is it your city’s symbol, the red flower everyone wears around? I felt sad. Perhaps, we don’t remember anymore – we don’t recognize symbols.
Symbols are different. In Canada, we wear a red poppy; in Post-Soviet republics – they wear a Ribbon of St. George – a symbol of Victory in the Second World War. But no matter the symbol we carry, we must remember the soldiers and civilians who sacrificed their lives for peace and the freedom of future generations.
At The Cridge Centre, we have a story that we hold especially close to our hearts. The story is about a nameless man in World War 1 and his sacrifice for the sake of a peaceful future. You have probably seen old photos where men were sitting in trenches in the rain and snow, waiting for the attack to come. One man who was waiting to get up and run held his bayonet and prayed. He suspected he wouldn’t survive the attack – so he wrote his last will on a piece of paper and stuck it in his helmet.
He was found dead on the battlefield shortly after. This man named wrote that The BC Protestant Orphans’ Home was his home and the only family he had and left all of his savings to support other orphans. He remained unnamed in history but is still remembered and honoured along with the other young men who served and were lost.
Let’s promise ourselves to remember those who gave the most valuable gift of all – the chance to live. Let’s promise to remember – but not only one day of the year. Let’s remember when having a cozy meal with friends and family; when going for a walk along the ocean on a warm sunny day; when seeing the first blossoms of the spring. Let’s remember and let’s be grateful! Lest we forget!
By Marina B.