Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day… it doesn’t matter what we call it in the two countries that I live and work. Monday, November 11 is a day to remember. We honor and celebrate the men and women who have provided us with the freedom to live our lives as we wish. For both world wars, it is very difficult now to speak to a veteran. We have to rely on the artifacts, the stories, the documents and pictures that have been preserved. There are veterans, service men and women from many other battles living among us. This blog is dedicated to you…
On Monday, cities, towns, schools will remember. We will hear the last post, stand in parade, read the poem, In Flanders Fields and we will take time to reflect. It is hard for some of us to understand what it felt like or truly meant to go off to war. How do we connect this in our current reality? I have the opportunity to know, love and respect people who spend their days doing all that they can to make our world a safer place for us to live. I know that in offices, on military bases, in remote parts of the world, there are women and men who work unselfishly, diligently, in the service of others. They are not in the “limelight” or get the accolades but they go to work, day in and day out, to do all that they can to help make our world a safe place to be.
They might be on a front line of military action, or in a support service role or even in a position that isn’t really understood by most of us. They might not physically be in the trenches of World War I, but they are in the trenches as we know them today, examining systems, communication, decisions and patterns to understand how others view our world to prevent disasters; to keep us safe. They might be visible to us in uniform protecting our neighborhoods, fighting fires, in security details or working all night in an emergency room. Service to others means that we are being protected and this dedication gives the rest of us peace of mind.
On Monday, as we remember the brave men and women who fought on our behalf, we have to also think about what it takes to keep our communities, our schools safe. There are decisions and actions taken, big and small, understood, not understood, known and not known to create safe environments for us all to work and live. This on-going commitment to a safe world is the most authentic way to honor those who fought and gave their lives for us.
When I visited the Dachau Concentration Camp, Flanders Fields, the site of the Berlin Wall, or even pass by a monument or memorial in any town or city, I am reminded of the pleasure that I have to live with personal freedom. I also know that this freedom is treasured by many, many people in our world that do not have it. And, I also know that this freedom came with a price and that it can not be taken for granted.
When you meet a veteran of any battle or have the opportunity to thank anyone who is in service to protect us, tell them what this means to you. They may have a uniform on or they may not but if you know that they are working in some capacity to make our world safe and a better place to live, let them know that this is absolutely appreciated by you. It is the purest, most significant way to remember the past and hold on to our future.
Over the past few days, many schools held programs and assemblies to recognize the sacrifice of war. Educators have a unique opportunity to impact their students by modeling respect and understanding and helping our youth understand the significance of a safe world. We know that school safety is a priority and we also understand that the bigger picture is the safety of cities, countries, our world. It all trickles down to each of us feeling secure and safe where we work, live and play.
Let us not take this for granted, appreciate and be aware of the sacrifice and service being provided on our behalf. And, most importantly, what can we each do to help others? How can we enrich our own lives by being in service to others? What can we teach our students about giving of ourselves?
For those of you in my life who are in service of others, I appreciate you. Have a wonderful week.