Nov 10, 2011


In 2000, my grade eight teacher asked us to enter the Royal Canadian Legion's Remembrance Day contest. We had the choice between submitting an essay, poem or artwork - I obviously chose the poem. To my surprise, I won five rounds of the contest with the essay below. While winning was obviously exciting to 13-year-old me, it was meeting the veterans at each of the ceremonies that meant the most to me. You can check out the full essay below.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we remember. We remember all the soldiers who fought for the land, the people, their families and for the future. We remember all the soldiers who fought and died to give us a good life.

Many of the soldiers were from Canada. Even though the war was not here, they risked their lives to help others. Their ages ranged from 18 to 40. Some of them were younger than 18 and lied about their age in order to fight. At the beginning, they were intrigued by the war. By the time they finished packing their bags, they were scared. These men were fighting for their lives, and for ours.

The women helped too. With the men away, they had to take on their jobs and help with the war on the home front. They collected food, made weapons, helped the sick and did much more. "In a rotten pie, there is a bite of good." One could say this phrase applied to the opportunities that the women received when the men went to war. Before the war, women were not allowed to work. When the men had to leave to fight, the women took over the so-called "men's jobs." Once the war was over the women didn't want to stop working; they stood up for themselves and continued to work. Soon those so-called "men's jobs" became "people jobs."

Many children grew up without a father; many wives lived without their husbands; many parents lived without their children; and many girls lived without their boyfriends. They all lived in constant fear about whether they would ever see their loved ones again. For some, the last day of the war was one of the happiest days of their lives. For others, it started them on a road towards grief. Some people signed up to fight the war in groups. All these men were good friends. Tragically, in many of these cases, not all wold return.

To repay these brave men, both the ones living and the ones who have already passed on, we must remember. Remember their lives, their efforts and their bravery. So on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour, take a moment to thank the soldiers, the Canadians and all the others, for giving you a good life.

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