Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remembrance Day

I have been thinking about this all day.  I have to tell a story for our 'Peace' Assembly tomorrow.  We don't call it a Remembrance Day Assembly for all sorts of political, inclusive reasons - and besides we weren't at school on the 11th, so....

Anyways, we ask the students in Grades 5 - 8 to bring donations of warm articles of clothing - mitts, toques, gloves, blankets, scarves to donate to the Downtown Eastside via the Union Gospel Mission.  Then each class shares an appropriate poem or song. 

My class is reciting "They are all children when they sleep, There is no war in them...."  but that is besides the point. 

The point is that my grandfather, my father, my uncle, my aunt, and my mother all served in the 2nd world war.  My Grandfather also served in the First World War, my uncle did a variety of peace keeping missions after WWII.  He was a career soldier.  My father was buried alive during the war.  I believe his wounds were deep for the short life he lived after the war.  But, that too is beside the point.

And, although we use November 11 to remember those who died in the war, it seems to me that November 11 is the moment of peace.  It is a remembrance of a truce, an agreement not to fight anymore.

Where I work we could use an armistice of sorts.  We could agree to not fight anymore.  We could agree to a peace.

On November 30, and this is what I will bring to the students tomorrow, November 30 is a day for the Vow of Silence.  To be silient not for 2 minutes at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, but to be silent for 24 hours.  And by being silent, no texting, tweeting, emailing, facebook....well you get it.  To really be silent.  To be silent to remember the children that are exposed to, or involved with war without their consent.  For the kidnapped child soldiers,  for the children for whom peace means nothing to them. 

What would that be like - a school taking a vow of silence?  I don't know.  But I would like to find out.  I am trying to get my grade 8s to buy in.  And tomorrow I will try to get grade 5 - 7 to buy in as well. 

Maybe if we didn't talk all the time, or tweet, or text, or facebook, we would realize that the world could be a peaceful place.  It has to start somewhere.  Let it begin with me.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could join you in your day of silence. I cooked at a Quaker camp for many summers. One year I was the cook at a 4 day silent retreat. I was looking forward to the silence. At the beginning, the leaders said that as much as possible we were to maintain silence. They said only if necessary - like answering a phone, or if needed in the kitchen, we could talk.
    That seemed to give people permission and anyone who felt the need for a chat figured it was okay to come into the kitchen and talk to the cook.
    I'd like a silent retreat.


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