My name is Sherina Harris. I’m a Canadian High School student, and in my first period class we explored the impact of art on remembrance of the Great Wars. I wore all black and a poppy, and sat in my school’s library listening to Adele while rain pattered outside. Even though this is my life I can’t stop thinking about yours.

Hello, it’s me

Every morning at school when O Canada plays, I clasp my hands together and think about why I am grateful to be Canadian. I have gathered an infinite number of reasons, but the one I always come back to is freedom. I am free to think what I want, and express those thoughts. I am free to be myself. I am also free to live safely. I can walk to school feeling secure, and unfortunately not everyone in the world can say that. When I hear O Canada, I think of you and I say a silent thanks.

Hello, can you hear me?

As thankful as I am, I cannot pretend to understand what you experienced in order to bring freedom to me and my fellow Canadians. I can look at photos and listen to music and read letters, but I can’t visit the muddy trenches and see your blood soaked battles. I’m not sure that I would want to, to be honest; I would be too scared. Maybe you were terrified when you were there – maybe when you think about it, you still are. But the difference is that you had no choice other than to swallow your fears and fight.

There’s such a difference between us

Today, Remembrance Day, is an occasion to be grateful, and to remember. While I can’t remember the atrocities of the war because I wasn’t there, I do know how it feels to live in a place where the sacrifices and courage of soldiers over a hundred years ago has led to my freedom. Seeking to understand your bravery is difficult, because I am so far removed, but I will continue trying: not because it is all I can do, but because after all you’ve done, it is the least I can do.

Hello from the outside

At least I can say that I tried

Despite our differences, we have one important thing in common. We are both Canadian, and we both love our country. And today, I will remember that.

Hello

The lyrics in italics are from Adele’s song Hello. I know the song wasn’t meant to be about Remembrance Day, but as I listened to it today the lyrics seemed fitting to use  to express my gratitude to veterans and current soldiers, and to reflect on my search for continued understanding. What does Remembrance Day mean to you?