Hello From The Other Side

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?

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10 thoughts on “Hello From The Other Side

  1. That is something that I tend to take for granted. Even though I am not ethnically British I am so appreciative of soldiers. Remembrance day also just gives me a chance to step back and think about what I take for granted on a daily basis and be more compassionate to others who do not have that.

  2. This is a really beautiful post. To me, remembering the sacrifice of others, and having a day specially devoted to this is so important. It doesn’t matter if you agree with the military or not, if you’re male or female, straight or gay, old or young – it’s a moment that’s not about you, but about those who came before, and it never fails to make me cry. X

  3. Reblogged this on sherinaspeaks and commented:

    I wrote this last year on a rainy morning, in the library of my high school. A year later, it’s a sunny morning and I’m sitting in my room at university. All of my thoughts from last year still ring true for me—today, and every day.

    I’ve been wearing my poppy with pride this week. I am so thankful to be Canadian, and today is an important day to honour the people who fought for this amazing country. I think the “search for continued understanding” that I mentioned in my post last year is a lifelong quest for Canadians. Today is the day to take a moment to pause and reflect on the freedoms we enjoy, and to appreciate and remember the people who fought for those freedoms. Lest we forget.

  4. Lovely post, Sherina! It is Veterans’ Day here in the States, and I feel an immense sense of gratitude for those who fought for our freedom and democracy. The day always reminds me of my grandfather, who fought in World War II.

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