Most of my family has served in the military in some capacity or another. My grandfather was in the (Canadian) Navy. My mother was in the Air Force. My father (pictured above) was in the Air Force. My father-in-law served in the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada in World War II.
None of them died in service. But they did serve, and today – as I remember that so many have died – I think that that is going to be what I focus on when I talk to my kids about what Remembrance Day and Veterans Day mean. Not the death, not the sacrifice, not the loss (how can four year olds wrap their heads around loss of life in war? should we even expect them to try?) – just the service, the tremendous service, that so many men and women provide to their countries day after day, year after year. Just that. The service. The protection they provide, the security, the maintenance of peace, the defense of peace, the making – in some cases – of peace.
That, I think, is easy enough to explain to a child. And well-worth doing. So worth doing.
(Is that enough, do you think? How SHOULD we talk to our kids
about Remembrance/Veterans’ Day? Talking about death with small children is
complicated enough – how do we discuss it alongside war and conflict and all
those terrible things that, although we should remember, we so often struggle
(Thank you, veterans and service-people. THANK YOU.)