EDITORIAL: Remembrance is changing

Families starting to look harder at the meaning of Remembrance Day

How will you mark Remembrance Day this year?

In 2014, as we mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War – so erroneously dubbed ‘the war to end all wars’ following the horrific conflict – we pause to reflect how different our world is today than when those young men and women left their homes for the far-flung battlefields of Europe.

At the same time, we recognize that the risks today’s service men and women face remain all too real. As recent events in Quebec and Ontario remind us, our Armed Forces personnel are not only at risk when fighting on foreign soil. Each day, both at home and abroad, service personnel strive to keep Canada and Canadians secure; sometimes putting their lives at risk in doing so.

It’s likely in response to this that local members of the Canadian Legion noticed a spike of early interest among those looking for poppies this year.

In fact, as the number of veterans from those early battles dwindles each Nov. 11, we see renewed demonstrations of remembrance from younger generations – from soldiers, sailors and airforce personnel, their families and friends, and the community at large.

Local author and historian Mark Zuehlke, this week awarded the 2014 Pierre Berton Award: the Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media for his contributions to the promotion of Canadian history (see page A27), has seen a shift in recent years not only to those participating at Remembrance Day services, but also those actively seeking the stories that formed such a significant part of our national identity.

From the traditional readership of veterans and history circles who sought out his Canadian Battle Series titles, Zuehlke has seen significant growth among younger readership, nearly half of which are women in the 35- to 65-year-old demographic. These are people interested in their family stories, the generations that came before, and how their experiences shaped the society we now enjoy.

“I’m very heartened when I go to the cenotaphs on Nov. 11 and see all these families there with their kids; you didn’t see that 15 years ago,” Zuehlke reflected. “I think people started thinking about remembrance more.”

Just Posted

Crews respond to near drowning at Thetis Lake

Man taken to hospital after calls come in of drowning in progress

PHOTOS: Thousands raised for cancer at second annual Gala for Hope

Victoria Fire Department’s fundraiser a success ahead of Ride to Conquer Cancer

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

Wooldog among mysteries uncovered with powerful UVic microscope

Finding ‘Mutton,’ a dog lost in a Smithsonian drawer for 150 years

Optometrist pedals through depression, leads others for the cause

Ride Don’t Hide bike rides start, end at Windsor Park

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Homalco tour gives glimpse into area’s ‘People, Land, Water’

First Nation business mixes cultural components with wildlife excursions

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

Most Read