I woke up at 4:30 this morning. Not because I had a nightmare or was to cold but because I chose to. For those of you who think I am insane let me explain.

Throughout Canada and in London, England there is currently a vigil going on for the Canadian casualties of World War One. The names are being displayed for seven days and the last name wil appear at dawn on November 11. The vigil begins at 5pm and runs for 13 hours. Each name appears for only a few seconds then is replaced by another.

So, why would an 18-year-old girl be interested in this. It is simple really, I was raised to respect history and with that comes a knowledge of my own families history. Our family, like so many others, had members who went off to war. They were two brothers Bedford Sheppard and William Sheppard. Bedford being my great-grandfather. While overseas they saw each other on September 28, 1918. The next day William was killed. I don’t know more details than that, but it is enough.

I looked up William’s name on the 1914-1918 site and found out the time it would be displayed. 5:16 in the morning. I was just happy it was not 2 or 3 in the morning. So, that is why I woke up so early today, I went to see his name flash on a screen for about 2 seconds, take a picture, say a prayer and leave.

To most people this would seem a waste of time. Why would I get up early in the morning, drive all the way to the Legislative building, and stand outside for about five minutes just to see a name on a screen. But for me it was more than just seeing a name on a screen. I may never be able to see his grave, which is at Haynecourt British Cemetary in France. For me this was a way to pay my respects to his memory.

Remembrance Day is a day to do this for all of the soldiers who died in the war fighting for what they believed in on behalf of their country. Already at Remembrance Day services there seems to be a lack of respect, perhaps because this war seems so far in the past. I think the vigil website states what I want to say beautifully

Memory is part of what makes us human

I encourage everyone to watch this vigil, even if just for a few moments, either online or standing outside. Find out about your own war heroes in your family, and never forget to wear a poppy on Remembrance Day.

William Edward Merritt

William Edward Merritt



3 responses »

  1. I think that is an amazing thing you did. Now days many people just view remembrance day as a day off, and they don’t take the time to remember what the day actually represents. I think your family will be proud that you got up out of bed that early and went to pay your respects, most people wouldn’t do that.

  2. Pingback: Christmas!!! « Amerrit’s Weblog

  3. Just read your Christmas post and thought I should read this. I think that’s amazing on so many levels! It made me tear up a little bit. I wonder if my grandpa was on there? Awesome post…like always!

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