It is Remembrance Day in Canada and I have already observed my 2 minutes of silence, as I do every year – twice actually – here in Bedford, Nova Scotia and again with my Ottawa, Ontario observers just a little while ago.
It is a really important observation, this silence. We remember. We stop – for a scant two minutes – to show respect for fallen soldiers, for wars long since ended, for living veterans.
Two minutes is very nearly no time at all. Yet for some, apparently, it is a torturous two minutes of wasting their time. Can you imagine? Someone who has absolutely no clue what actual torturous things are, complaining about having to be still for 2 teeny tiny minutes? Unreal!
So what would you do when faced with such a person?
This is what singer/songwriter Terry Kelly did.
He carved in stone an experience from his life where this exact situation occurred.
Isn’t this brilliant?
I love when a person takes a negative situation and not only finds a way to turn it into a positive, but goes a step further and creates a beautiful thing that can at once tell us what happened and remind us to never be that person or allow that situation to happen again.
From Terry Kelly’s YouTube Channel:
“On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.
Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.
When eleven o’clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.
Terry’s anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.
Thank You to the Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden Branch #10 and Woodbine Height Branch #2 for their participation in the Video.”
Isn’t that awesome?
I think so.
Even though I have heard Terry Kelly songs for most of my life (He’s an Atlantic Canadian, too!) I hadn’t heard this song or the story behind it until a Remembrance Day Ceremony at my son’s school in Ottawa. (I appreciate the irony of this.) Since then, though, it has become one of my favourite ways to commemorate the importance of those two minutes.
We also wear our poppies, of course.
Since Remembrance Day in Nova Scotia is a day off school and work (so that people can observe and take part in special ceremonies all over the province), schools usually have a special observation a day or two before November 11th.
Thing 2’s school had a Remembrance day ceremony on Monday and she was excited to get to sing a beautiful song*** with her classmates. She wore a red dress and had her poppy on. The ceremony, which was scheduled for 9 a.m., was mainly for the students and a few guests. I was happy to hear that Geoff Regan attended. It’s nice when politicians keep their feet firmly planted**** in their communities. She reported that the 2 minutes of silence were successful – except for some cute Grade Primaries who felt compelled to clap for their Music Teacher’s rendition of The Last Post on his sax – once settled though, the silence was observed well.
Thing 1 also took part in his school’s Remembrance Day ceremony on Tuesday. He told me (without my asking) when he walked through the door after school, still in Band Concert dress – complete with poppy – that their 2 minutes was the best yet. He said it was eerily silent and that you couldn’t even hear people breathing or shuffling in their seats. Not a single cleared throat, cough or sneeze broke the silence. He seemed particularly pleased, actually.
My kids get it.
I am so thankful.
We Shall Keep The Faith
Oh! You who sleep in Flanders’ Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew;
We caught the torch you threw,
And holding high we kept
The faith with those who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led.
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders’ Fields.
And now the torch and Poppy red,
Wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught:
We’ve learned the lesson that ye taught
In Flanders’ Fields.
– Moina Michael
With that I will leave you for today.
How do you observe Remembrance Day?
**Please visit www.terry-kelly.com.
**When she came home all excited a month ago to tell me they were singing I cried. Not just because she’s adorable and because the song was beautiful, but because I know the songwriter! She is amazing! *tears This could be a whole post on its own.
****I believe this to be true of Mr. Regan because he has been present at so many community and school events. Why, just last spring I was slinging BBQed sausages and hotdogs with him at Thing 2’s former school Spring Fair.