2020 Vimy Pilgrimage Award recipient Una Chang from Vancouver, BC, wrote the following tribute after researching the life of Eden Lyal Pringle who died serving in the First World War.
Dear Ms. Eden Lyal Pringle,
It’s me, Una. I’ll start by introducing who I am. I’m a seventeen-year-old girl living in Canada. I like reading, watching movies, and spending time with my friends and family. I live a relatively privileged life in 2020. The world that I live in today is no fairytale, but I do not have to worry about a war breaking out or a national famine in the near future.
When I was doing research about you, I could not help but notice the evident differences between the two of us: our cultures, ethnicities, religion and age, to name a few. I grew up in a Korean household, while you grew up in a European- Canadian household. I’m protestant, and you were part of the Church of England. I’m seventeen, and you were twenty-three. I have two brothers, and you had none.
But as I looked further, I found that similarities between the two of us can be found beyond the surface-level. Like you, I aspire to help others in need. Like you, I have a passion for the sciences. Like you, I want to take a stand for a cause bigger than myself. I hope to support others in need by becoming a Nurse.
At the mere age of twenty-three, you made the decision that would change your life. How did you feel when enlisted? Did you think about the consequences? Did you think that you could potentially not come back? To not come back to your parents, your friends, your co-workers, to your home?
With these questions in mind, I began to imagine myself in your place. I imagine that you would have been scared. At the same time, excited to take part in a nation-wide effort. If I was put in your position, would I have made the same decision? I suppose that is something that I will not have to worry about, because you volunteered your safe life at home to help those overseas. Because of you, I have the liberty and the privilege of wondering – and only wondering – “what if”.
I want to let you know that I remember you. I will continue to remember you. I want to let you know that you will not be forgotten. That your life and your sacrifice is not wasted. Because of you, I’m even more inspired to pursue a career in Nursing and help those in need. Although you will never get a chance to read this letter, I will pass on your legacy throughout the years to come. Thank you.
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