At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns finally fell silent in what, at the time, was the most devastating war the world had ever faced. It has been over 100 years since the end of the First World War and Dr. Michael Eamon, public historian and principal of Catharine Parr Traill College, encourages the Trent community to join Remembrance Day commemoration events on campus.
“Remembrance Day is not a celebration of conflict, but rather a time to reflect upon sacrifice and what we have lost through violence,” explains Professor Eamon. “In spite of the devastation of the Great War, the twentieth century saw the nations of the world once again facing a global conflict and a variety of other violent and destructive wars. A day that was originally designed to mourn the loss of those who died, slowly transformed into a greater day of reflection. By marking Remembrance Day at Trent, we are saying that we need to humbly remember those who sacrificed their lives and who served this country in a variety of different ways.”
With a number of active conflicts taking place across the globe, Prof. Eamon shares that Remembrance Day presents us with an important opportunity to pause, reflect, and discuss.
“I think the purpose of a university, and particularly Trent, is to have these necessary and sometimes difficult conversations about human interaction,” he says. “Lately, there's been a lot of anger, protests, and people defining what freedom is to them. Part of our reflection this year should be around questions like: What is my role? What can I do to combat aggression? Am I hurting, or causing hurt to others, and what can I do to alleviate hurt and promote peace?”
Prof. Eamon also points out that many Trent community members have served and continue to serve Canada and the armed forces, and commemorating Remembrance Day on campus is also an opportunity to recognize their service.
On-campus opportunities to reflect
On Friday, November 11, the Trent community is encouraged to participate in campus observances in Peterborough and Durham. Both ceremonies will commence at 10:45 a.m.
Peterborough: Great Hall, Champlain College.
Durham: Atrium Building B.
The ceremonies will feature the laying of wreaths and acts of Remembrance.