The Elrose Legion received some special news recently, on the national level for the upcoming Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa.

Aarika Letter

West Central Saskatchewan's Aarika Haque is set to attend McGill University in Montreal next year, so thankfully she will already be out east, when she is presented with a plaque and a cheque for $500 on November 11th, 2022. The legion met with the latest winner (at the dominion level) of the Youth Poster and Literary Contest in the Senior Essay category, and are so happy for her accomplishment.

"As the national winner, Aarika will represent the youth of Canada at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on November 11th, 2022.  Along with the other Senior category winners, she will have the honour of meeting veterans and participating in that Remembrance service."

That comes right from the local Legion through an email, as one parent is allowed to accompany her. They are thrilled for her, and are happy to know it will only be a short commute to Ottawa from her classes in Montreal. They have had the pleasure of judging Haque's work over the past 8 years since she moved to the area, and they could not be more happy for her. She has always been known to create high quality art alongside her literary work, even when there was no requirement to do so for school credit.

"How fortunate we are to have had this very special young woman in our midst. I know that she will carry the Legacy of Remembrance, that we have worked hard to maintain with our students, in her heart wherever she goes. And so the cast stone leaves ripples through the generations," stated the email.

They are looking into putting up a frame in the Legion making note of her achievement. Check out her essay submission below:

Remember Their Sacrifice 

When Canadians think of Remembrance, they think we 
must only remember the past and honour our veterans. They 
believe this is a day we celebrate the older generations but forget 
the people defending us this very second. They forget that now, 
both men and women fight for our nation. Not just fathers and 
sons, but mothers and daughters go to war as well. We also 
forget the other heroes. We forget the countless doctors and 
nurses that played immense roles to keep the injured alive. As a 
child, I believed Remembrance Day was only about the older 
generations and was not relevant today. The truth is that wars are 
still happening and Canadian men and women are defend the 
peace. I am a second generation Canadian. I do not have 
ancestors that fought for Canada, but they fought wars for their 
birth countries. Remembrance should be a topic that brings every 
individual from every nation together. 

As a multicultural nation, we often forget the Canadian 
minorities and immigrants who have defended our country as 
well. We often depict our defenders in Remembrance Day 
programs, books, and our education systems as a stereotypical 
Caucasian male, but we must include Canadians of all races, 
genders, and classes in our remembrance. We must remember 
the sacrifices made by these heroes who do not often get the 
recognition they deserve. In the past, when there were more 
racial stereotypes and segregation, people looked down upon 
Canadians of different ethnicities and races, but no segregation 
barriers were created when enlisting after the Second World War. 
While some African American recruits would encounter resistance 
when trying to enlist in the army, they were allowed. Thousands of 
African American Canadians served in many wars but are not 
portrayed in our history books. As generations of learning to “rise 
above” and knowing the importance of inclusion, we should make 
a change. We should make sure we are doing our part to honour 
everyone’s sacrifices. 

Remembrance is just as much about the present as it is 
the past. Without learning from the past, we would have no 
present. It is challenging, as a generation of privileged individuals, 
to understand this and learn about war and sacrifice. Most of us 
will never have to enlist in war or give up our childhoods for future 
generations. My experience with remembrance is much like this. I 
can never fathom how these brave men and women felt and what 
they have done for our nation. I can never understand the pain of 
being away from my family, not coming home to my warm bed, 
and not knowing if I will feel the warmth of the sun on my face 
tomorrow. These brave people who enlist to serve our nation do 
not do it in the hope of bringing home riches or for any selfish 
reasons, they joined to shield every individual from bloodshed. 
Remembrance should be a feeling embraced in our hearts, a 
feeling taught to every soul in our nation. If we are not thankful, 
who should be? 

Our job is to remember the fallen and the people defending 
our nation today. This one day is when every Canadian comes 
together to remember and honour their sacrifices. We can not 
fathom what they went through, but we can take a moment of 
silence for them. A moment of silence feeling gratitude and 
gratefulness, sensing an immense joy to be a part of a nation of 
courageous individuals willing to defend our future. As a 
generation of privileged youth, we must never forget their 
sacrifices. The people who gave their lives, so we could live our 
lives without fear. On Remembrance Day, we must not think of 
just the past, but about the present too. We must think of what 
might happen if their sacrifices went unnoticed and what would 
happen if we forgot. We are the generation of remembrance and 
reconciliation. We must remember them with all our hearts and till 
we have taken our last breaths. 

- Aarika Haque