Nov 13, 2020 Message to Members
“…be silent for a moment.”
There is so much noise out there: so many voices, so many opinions, so many competing positions. The static emanating from south of the 49th alone is overwhelming, distracting, and exhausting! Updates from our own Provincial Health Office and Dr. Henry elevate the volume further. Community Facebook pages and other social platform chatter contribute to the cacophony of swirling sound bites. The positive test numbers are rising, new restrictions on social gatherings and travel have been introduced, and other Canadian provinces are actively returning to more restrictive measures.
And squarely in the middle of this week’s wall of white noise is the day ‘of our most sacred Remembrance.’
Although my grandparents did not serve during conflicts of the 20th century, they were very connected to the Royal Canadian Legion. Because of this, Remembrance Day was a significant day in our house when I was growing up. My Uncle Vern played the bagpipes; he would march on November 11th, playing with the band while our family gathered. And for myself as an educator, the days in school which led to November 11th have always included somber reflection, punctuated by a school-wide gathering with its own vibrations. My thoughts this year turned to what the sounds of Remembrance Day would be in our schools in 2020.
Two things really get me: the cap toss in June, and the anthem on Remembrance Day. Without fail, I find myself struggling to sing “…with glowing hearts…”. My throat closes with emotion, every year. This year was no different as I stood at my desk in my home office, and tuned in to the stream of my town’s service. While for the first time in decades I was not present to hear the anthem sung by a chorus of students, the anthem was sung!
It has been truly inspiring to follow the work of our Principals and Vice-Principals as they have created and supported innovative, respectful, and heart-felt observances throughout BC.
Virtual gatherings have included classroom contributions, recorded and seamlessly woven together. When the tech failed, skilled and wise teachers – prepared for every possibility, as always – stepped forward with students ready to go live before the camera. Student leaders honoured our fallen, and shared their gratefulness for the sacrifice of so many. A Principal who was unable to bring students together for The Last Post and Reveille instead brought the music to the students and filled the corridors with the sound of bugles that flowed through each open door and created that stunning moment of unity.
And then … there was silence.
If only for a moment or two, we shared a silence this week. Perhaps in 2020, the moments of silence were deeper, more reflective, and more profound. Perhaps we spent two minutes thinking of sacrifice and its gift. Perhaps we spent two minutes thinking of hardship and suffering. Perhaps we spent two minutes thinking about peace and love and hope. And perhaps we were able to cut through the noise and realize, while we are navigating very challenging times, there are worse things.
Keep well and stay safe.