Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Blog – August 06, 2013

Around the world tonight, 16 Canadian, French and British youth who have been looking forward to this night for months are putting the finishing touches on presentations on various aspects of war, formulating responses to the discussion questions they have been given to think about, packing their suitcases, and speculating about what the next two weeks will be like.

If I was with them tonight, I could tell them that the next two weeks will change their lives in ways they never anticipated.

The 16 young men and women that will converge in London on Thursday know that millions of men and women made major sacrifices that have led to the rights and freedoms they can take for granted. They know that hundreds of thousands of men from their home countries lie in graves marked with white headstones, having sacrificed their tomorrows for our todays. They know all three of our countries are still impacted by the wars. They know all of this, yet they don’t yet get all of this.

By the time they go home in two weeks, these young people will get all of this. They will get it because they will have seen the battlefields, walking in the footsteps of the soldiers who made those sacrifices. They will get it because they will have stood among those headstones that mark the lives of men not much older than they are now. They will get it because they will find the grave of a soldier who has significance in their life, either because they are a relative or because they came from the same community, and they will share that soldier’s story with the group, ensuring that that soldier’s sacrifices will never be forgotten.

The 16 young men and women that will converge in London on Thursday will not be the same young people that leave Paris on the 21st. They will have made friends for life through the experiences, laughter and tears they have shared, and they will come home with a newfound appreciation for everything they have and why they have it. They will go on to make our world a better place, and they will teach the next generation the importance of remembrance, because this experience will be one they will never forget.

They will do all of this, but tonight is still all about that anticipation, and the adults that get to be part of this experience are feeling it, too.

I am privileged as both an educator and a Canadian to be able to witness the change that will take place in these young people in the coming weeks, and I will try to share that change with the families and friends of these youth through this blog. I know a blog cannot do justice to what we are experiencing, just like reading about the war cannot to justice to seeing the battlefields in person, but hopefully it will give you at least a glimpse of what our time is like.

The first official blog post will come tomorrow from Toronto as we prepare to embark on our journey. See you then!

Loralea Wark

Education Coordinator, The Vimy Foundation взять займ онлайн