Thursday 11 November 2010

Remembering in high school

My grandfather, George Moore fought in World War II.  He didn't talk about it much, but I know some things.  He lied about his age to get into the Canadian Navy, I think at 17. I suspect his love for engineering came from working on a supply ship.  He spoke about the camaraderie, not about conflict.

Memories of Remembrance Day cause me to recall high school.  The school I went to for five formative years, 
Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute, has a vast collection of letters from former students from WWII who fought in that war, writing back to their teachers.  Each Remembrance Day assembly, some students would volunteer to read the names of the former students who died in that war. 

The list was long, I think about 5 students were needed to get through it alphabetically. I remember being one who could get through reading the "Smiths" without the giggles.  There were so many, as a teenager, some found it hard to read with a straight face - and these were not vapid teenagers, these were bright students who cared, and were ashamed that the litany wasn't easy to read in front of over 1000 other students. We all tried to understand the day and took it seriously.

I think what sobered me those few times reading the names, was letting my eyes wash over the list, and thinking it would be too easy to forget them, especially the Smiths; yet each was a whole person fighting to preserve our way of life.  And the Canada I live in today rocks because of them. 

Remember, and teach others to remember, as our high school teachers taught us. 

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under Creative Commons Licence.



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