November 11th, which was formerly known as Armistice Day and is now called Remembrance Day, is a time to reflect and pay respects to the thousands of Canadian soldiers that gave their lives for their country. Remembrance Day was first was introduced back in 1919 and was observed in the British Commonwealth as Armistice Day, in recognition of the armistice agreement that ended the first world war. In 1931, the name of the day was changed to Remembrance Day, in a bill passed by the House of Commons.
Now every year in Canada, people take pause to commemorate past and present soldiers in the Canadian military who served for their country. For the most serious observers, a moment of silence will be recognized on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. In Canada, the national ceremony takes place in Ottawa at the National War Memorial, but there are services, parades, and other activities all across the nation for seniors and caregivers to get involved in.
Remembrance Day Activities for Seniors and Caregivers
There are many things that people of all ages can participate in, from getting out in the community for a little social activity, to engaging in some indoor commemorations.
Some possible activities for Remembrance Day, and the days leading up to it, might be:
- Make or buy poppies
- Visit a war memorial
- Go to a parade
- Two minutes of silence
- Write a letter to veteran
- Arts and crafts
- Poems, stories, songs
Make or Purchase Poppies
Poppies are a quintessential element of Remembrance Day, and are the traditional mark of the occasion. Why are poppies associated with Remembrance Day? The poppy is known as a symbol of remembrance and hope for a peaceful future. Poppies represent veterans that gave their lives in war and the loved ones they left behind. They show a sign of mourning and respect for fallen soldiers.
Poppies are also a widely used means of raising money for veterans’ foundations and families, with the proceeds going to help those in need. So, buying a poppy in commemoration of November 11th, not only visibly shows your support, but contributes to a good cause.
Making poppies is always a fun activity as well, and they can be crafted from a variety of materials.
Visit a War Memorial
This is another great way to show support on Remembrance Day if you are in close proximity to a war memorial. Check online for memorials near you, and if there isn’t one close, reading about the history of the National War Memorial is a good alternative.
Go to a Parade
There are hundreds of Remembrance Day parades and ceremonies to check out all across Canada. Parades are a good way to get out for some exercise, social interaction, and to show support. Parades often feature marching soldiers and bands and typically end in a wreath laying ceremony.
You can check local listings or online to find a parade near you, and if there isn’t one accessible you can always follow the national event on TV.
Two Minutes of Silence
This tradition dates back to the inception of Remembrance Day, back on November 11th, 1919, when King George V requested the public to observe 2 minutes of silence at 11:00am as a tribute and a time to reflect on the lives and sacrifices of the military’s soldiers.
This can be a good way for seniors to pay tribute to friends and family members that may have been involved or affected by the war effort.
Write a Letter
This is another approach to commemorating veteran friends or family that provided service to the Canadian military. Letters can be laid on soldiers’ tombs at Remembrance Day ceremonies, along with poppies.
Arts & Crafts
Poppies are the obvious craft of the day on November 11th, but other craft ideas might be making a wreath or constructing a monument.
Other creative options are writing a poem or story about a past military event or battle.
Poems, Stories, Songs
There a lot of poems and stories written about or for Remembrance Day, such as the classic “In Flanders Fields”. Writing a poem can be a fun activity for creative types, or reading from a book about Remembrance Day is also a good option to learn some history.
Songs are another excellent way to observe and remember soldiers’ efforts, and can include listening, singing, and even playing musical instruments. The bagpipes are heard all across the country on November 11th.
There is no better way to support Canada’s veterans than getting in there to pitch in and help out. Time can be volunteered at legions across the country, or a local Remembrance Day community event.