By Lauren Hoot

It’s a significant day in history that some of us don’t give much thought. Maybe it’s an extra day off work or just another day of the week. Regardless, the poppy pinned to your jacket isn’t a decoration — it serves an important purpose.

Nov. 11 is a historical date for Canada and other countries around the world.  On this day in 1918, the Armistice — an agreement that would put an end to the First World War — was signed. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, gunfire and warfare came to a halt.

The four-year battle that had claimed the lives of thousands of Canadians and wounded over 170,000 more, had ended — one of the deadliest conflicts in history.

At the beginning of the First World War, soldiers were persuaded by feelings of patriotism to enlist. Upon arrival, many of them lasted only days — some just hours — before being killed.

During the war, soldiers on the front line had to worry about more than just the enemy — they endured some of the harshest conditions in the trenches. The cold, wet trenches that were often infested by rats, created an environment that enabled the spread of disease. Many soldiers fell ill and of the soldiers who were wounded in battle, many were forced to amputate injured limbs to prevent the spread of infection.

These men and women dedicated their lives to our country and made unimaginable sacrifices to ensure the freedom and safety of future generations. Many of us will never know the hardships they faced, but Nov. 11 is a day we can remember them.

Not only does Nov. 11 commemorate the soldiers of the First World War, but it is a special day in which we remember all our veterans. We remember the ones we have lost and appreciate the service of those still with us.

The poppy that we pin to our jacket each November was inspired as a symbol of remembrance through the poem, “In Flanders Fields,” written by John McCrae, a Canadian doctor who treated soldiers on the Western Front. The poem makes reference to the poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers during the First World War. This small token of remembrance is worn on the left side of our chest, over our hearts.

Please show your respect to our past and present veterans by wearing a poppy over your heart and taking a moment of silence this November 11.