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Legion worried young Canadians don't know enough about Remembrance Day

Last Updated Nov 8, 2015 at 10:32 am PDT

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There are growing concerns of a generational gap when it comes to honouring veterans

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There are growing concerns ahead of Remembrance Day this week that young people don’t know enough about it. The Royal Canadian Legion is worried what affects this so-called generational gap could have on a day to honour those who served for their country.

What it comes down to is a better understanding of what it takes to make the ultimate sacrifice for your country and the toll that can take, says the legion’s Inga Kruse.

She hopes today’s youth know what Remembrance Day is about, adding the onus to teach is mostly on parents. “It’s our jobs as parents to teach our children pretty much everything. To build in that element of what it means to be patriotic, what it means to understand our country’s involvement in a military way is an important thing. It’s as important as explaining the government system to them as they’re growing up so they become engaged voters.”

“I think what alarms us a little bit is a lot of tournaments get planned on Remembrance Day, so the kids are not learning about remembrance, they’re not volunteering — they’re at a hockey rink or a soccer field because that’s the day that this activity was planned. We feel, at the very least, it should be planned after the ceremonies. But a moment of silence at 11 a.m. during a hockey game, gives the whole day the short-shift.”

Kruse encourages parents to take their children to the cenotaph and Remembrance Day ceremonies. “The kids aren’t in school, most people aren’t at work and it’s a holiday for them and they’re not using it for what it was intended when you’re doing sports or going shopping in the States or whatever it happens to be. That’s really not teaching the kids.”

Admittedly, she adds it’s up to the Legion nation-wide to help ensure children and teens have a better understanding but is pleading for help from teachers and moms and dads.

She adds there is also a misconception the day is only to honour older soldiers, but she reminds us there are those who served on recent tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. “There is so much great information out there and that’s probably what we need to do more of in order to get this point across to generations to follow. Because if people understand what it costs to go to war, they’re more informed and they’re less likely to be involved in that sort of thing when they become leaders of countries and when we do have to send [soldiers] in harm’s way that they take care of them when they come home.”

The legion is asking for donations and you can help by texting 20222 and sending the word ‘Poppy’ — $5 will be added to your cellphone bill.