My six-year-old daughter, Lizzie, is curious. About everything. What does that say, mummy? Why? How does that work? Why did they do that? How did they do that? This past Sunday, we were walking back to the car after seeing Pinkalicious, the Musical, in Guelph (lots of fun, by the way) when we passed a memorial for veterans. Lizzie paused. The pinkatastic chatter stopped. “Mummy, there are poppies and wreaths. Is this statue for the soldiers?” “Yes,” I replied. “Can you read the words to me?” she asked.
So, we stood in the cold and I read out loud the engraved words. I read the poem Flanders Fields. We talked about the wars and which ones my grandparents and her daddy’s grandparents had fought in. She read out loud the dates of World War I, of World War II and the Korean War. We talked about wreaths. And poppies. And the importance of remembering.
She never met my grandad, whose stories from World War II and Dieppe came out after his death many years later. I never met my great grandfather, who fought in the trenches in World War I and avoided a piece of shrapnel piercing his heart because of a well-made button that served as a shield. But my grandad’s letters, diaries and medals from World War II are on display at my parent’s house. And the button that saved my great grandfather and the piece of shrapnel that bounced off the button into his leg adorn a leather box that contains his medals and some letters from World War I. She knows all of this.
Next to the statue was a wall of names.
“Mummy, are those names of people who died in the wars?”
“Yes. People from this area.”
“So many people died, mummy. That’s so many people.”
“Yes, honey, a lot of people fought in the wars, and many of them died. That is why we remember them.”
“I don’t like war, mummy.”
Out of the mouths of babes. Lest we forget.
Find even more ways to teach your kids about the meaning of Remembrance Day here.