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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
... Who do you think of or "honour"? Who qualifies?

Kind of a non-specific question for now, I know... I'm sorry, but I'm trying to get a "feel" for this based on a realization of just how very narrow some Americans' views are on Memorial Day. It distressed and saddened me.
 

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I wrote this some five years back and re-post it every November 11. Perhaps it is what you need to get a feel for how I view Remembrance Day:

Remembrance Day

At 11:00 a.m. on November 11th, I shall physically stand before the cenotaph on St. Anne Street, here in St. Albert to take part in, and witness the Remembrance Day services.

My mind however, will be elsewhere. Part of the time it will have me in the Royal Canadian Legion burial plot in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, where I will stand before the graves of my father, Lt. F. J. W. Sinclair and my mother Pt. N. M. Sinclair and salute them. They both served in W.W.II where my father was wounded in action in France.

It will then take me to another family plot in the small town of Lafleche, Saskatchewan, where I was born. There too, I will stand before the graves of my uncles Marvin, Donald, and Roy who also served overseas in W.W.II. And I will also stand before, and salute the graves of my two younger uncles who served in Korea. Uncle Benjamin, who I got to know later in life. And Uncle Stanley, who I didn't get to know, dead at 33 years of age.

I shall remember that I am here, never having to go to war, because they did so on my behalf. They, and many other citizens, of many other countries, in many other conflicts. I shall remember them all.

When the final sweet notes of The Last Post haunt the still morning air, I will shed no tear, for they would not expect me to do so. I will however, have a very large lump in my throat.

LEST WE FORGET

 

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Dreambird, when I was a boy growing up in New York City, Decoration Day, as it was called then, was not celebrated as it is today. My father and my uncle, who were a veterans of WWII, would take my cousin and me to some monument that was being decorated as a remembrance to those who fought in some war, be it the Civil War, WWI, the Korean War or WWII. It was always on May 30th. Now, it is a three day holiday with the last Monday of the month being Memorial Day. Sadly, there is less remembering and memorializing/decorating and more shopping in this the first day of summer shopping in the US.

Remembrance Day was called Armistice Day (for obvious reasons) when I was growing up. It was not celebrated in the US as I have seen it celebrated in Canada, or here in St. John's. It is a very serious day of remembrance throughout NL, in that NL lost more men, on a per capita basis, than any other country on both sides of the conflict. Where I teach, Memorial University, was built as a living memorial to those who "gave their last full measure of devotion" in WWI. On that day, from dawn until dusk, the names of all those who fought and died in WWI are read in the House of Assembly.

I try to go down to the War Memorial here in St. John's whenever I am able to on Nov. 11th. If I can't, I make it a point of taking one of my dogs to Churchill Park and standing there as the echo of the 11 canon shots are fired from atop of Signal Hill starting at 11AM sharp. Everything in St.John's seems to stand still.

Have you listened to/watched "A Pittance of Time" by the Newfoundland native, Terry Kelly?
A Pittance of Time - Bio
 

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In the Maritimes, Remembrance Day is a somber and respected day.

I was shocked when I was in Montreal on a November 11th. No one seem to notice the ceremony taking place at the Cenotaph. Right downtown. It wasn't a holiday, just another work day there.

Three of us from our group; an Albertian, a Manatobian and myself joined the ceremony.

We had a situation a few years back when the major shopping centre in Moncton Champlain Mall recently hired a Mall manager that hailed from Quebec.

The vets and supporters from the Legion wanted to set up their annual fund raising effort namely the "Poppy Sale." They planned to sell Poppies in the mall for 10 days from November 1st to November 10th.

The mall manager said the could have 10 opportunities but only once a month for 10 months.

The matter became a media event and by the end of it boycott were being organised to affect the mall properties not just in Moncton or New Brunswick but all of the Maritimes. The matter was so serious the mall Manager lost her job over it.
 

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An interesting story, BigDL. Appropriate ending.
 

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The previous posters pretty much echo my thoughts about Remembrance Day.

As for who qualifies, to my mind, everyone who has served Canada in the armed forces and merchant marine, particularly those who died, whether in war, peacekeeping or peacekeeping endeavour.

There has been much discussion about making Remembrance Day a stat holiday. I tend to agree with the sentiment, but I fear turning it into a holiday will turn it into a "shopping" day or a long weekend like it is in the States.

I don't mind taking time off work or out of my weekend to take Cubs and Scouts to the service. I think that kids bused to the service by local schools get more out of it than they would if it was a day off.
 

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In Ottawa, it's voluntary, but almost all stores are closed until noon on Remembrance Day. That gives people time to remember at 11 AM. The downtown is packed with people at the Cenotaph/War Memorial at Elgin at the Parliament buildings, and any politician who wants to get re-elected makes an appearance.
There is a ceremony, wreath layings, and then a parade of veterans where people cheer them, shake their hands, and thank the vets.
There are a lot of tears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK... thanks guys... I think I see some things here that I was particularly looking for...

Of course we all remember specific people that we knew or were family members, others specific to us. Let's see if I can put this right... what I saw in another place I hang around that is very important to me and I thought I knew these people better, was a "wish to disregard" some Vets. I don't want to say it's necessarily a conscious denial or something of the sort... but there is a bitterness, a tangible anger. This is a small sampling of people really, if it's indicative of Americans... they've got a mass anger issue methinks. Of course it's a place where discussion of political matters is strictly verboten, but a request was made... quite simple that I thought was reasonable. The subject was "Lest We Forget"... to which the answer was that it was hard to forget and the request was that Vets from Iraq and VietNam should be remembered too.

It seems increasingly the emphasis is on WWII Vets... I've wanted to mention it, but have never dared. This place has been around for over 6 years now. There are mentions of course of VN or Korea if someone has a person in particular they wish to mention, not often. Some mentions of other Vets... those who fought for our freedom that sort of thing... I'm sorry to say though, there's a lack of diversity I feel. Like the Americans think perhaps they did the world one great favour and that was WWII... their greatest success... well, yes. But there were a group of allies... Canada was a very, very important one.

The one year we had a really meaningful Memorial Day there... our youngest member brought up something... I'm not sure how it would be recieved today. It seems every year America's people get angrier and more tight-lipped.

He mentioned that people die on the "bad guy's" side too... or survive and pay a high price in loss of dignity... and some of them had no choice whatsoever. Nothing is black or white... I pity the person who can't see shades of grey.

A VN Vet decided it was a good time to complain about the abuse they recieved upon their return to the US... which I recall to some extent as I was young, but I don't recall it being at the hands of the peace protesters.

As much as I disagree with the war in Afghanistan I will remember the Vets who lost their lives their on Nov. 11 and give them the honour they deserve... I will also receive the ones to come home safe and sound with the respect they deserve. I don't agree with the war... I don't wish to punish the soldiers for doing their job for this country.

Sinc said:

I shall remember that I am here, never having to go to war, because they did so on my behalf. They, and many other citizens, of many other countries, in many other conflicts. I shall remember them all.
Dr.G said:

My father and my uncle, who were a veterans of WWII, would take my cousin and me to some monument that was being decorated as a remembrance to those who fought in some war, be it the Civil War, WWI, the Korean War or WWII. It was always on May 30th.
Brainstrained said:

As for who qualifies, to my mind, everyone who has served Canada in the armed forces and merchant marine, particularly those who died, whether in war, peacekeeping or peacekeeping endeavour.
Why should I care about them down there?
I dunno... good question. I've got a lot of friends down there, like minded ones as one usually attracts people one has something in common with.
I've been down there enough to know it's a beautiful country with so much to offer... and I fear so much they'd just like to bury and forget. I suppose it would help if I could lose about 90% of my conscience! Not to mention our "butt" is stuck to them... how best to ignore it! ;)

I'm agnostic but Thank Whoever I am Canadian!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry... I miss those I's at the end of the WW sometimes...

Dr.G this is cool, I'm glad they do that:

Remembrance Day was called Armistice Day (for obvious reasons) when I was growing up. It was not celebrated in the US as I have seen it celebrated in Canada, or here in St. John's. It is a very serious day of remembrance throughout NL, in that NL lost more men, on a per capita basis, than any other country on both sides of the conflict. Where I teach, Memorial University, was built as a living memorial to those who "gave their last full measure of devotion" in WWI. On that day, from dawn until dusk, the names of all those who fought and died in WWI are read in the House of Assembly.
Thanks for the link too, I'm checking it out... :)
 

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Dreambird, July 1st is also a day of mourning here in NL, as it marks the anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont Hammel, in which over 740 men were killed or seriously wounded of the 801 men of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment that went over the top that morning. The battle lasted all of 1/2 an hour, in that they were the only ones who were ordered into battle by British generals, who kept the British troops in reserve for the second wave, which never came. Since NL was a country then, and not a province of Canada, July 1st was not celebrated as Canada Day until July 1st, 1949.
 

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Whatever war it happens to be, the people who serve in the Army, Navy, as Aides, in the hospitals - wherever - they are fighting or serving to preserve a lifestyle, they are fighting or serving for their beliefs and I shudder to think that the loss of life for those willing to do so would be forgotten - what then did they serve for?
 

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Remembrance Day is for all veterans, not just a selected few, IMHO. In recent years, yes, there has been an emphasis on WWII vets, but I think this is a belated realization that these men and women are shuffling off this mortal coil at an increasing rate.

Father Time is the most unflinching of enemies!

There is only 1 (I think) Canadian veteran of WWI left alive. The last of the Boer War vets died many years ago. It strikes me that we have suddenly realized that the ol' geezers, who we chuckled over when they went down to the Legion to swap lies, actually took part in some incredible events, and we'd better start paying attention to these stories, before they're gone for good.

But let's not wait until our peacekeeping, Gulf War, and Afghanistan vets are collecting their pensions to seek out their stories and show respect for their sacrifices.
 

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Good posting, Chris.

"Father Time is the most unflinching of enemies!" Sad, but all too true.
 

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I believe that Remembrance Day is for every citizen.

My girls were Air Cadets and are still involved with the Air Cadets. They actively participate in ceremonies to remember on Remembrance Day and Battle of the Atlantic Sunday.

If you ask at the time when you "purchase" a poppy in remembrance of veterans in November you will be told the proper method of disposal of that poppy is to leave it on the cenotaph at the conclusion of the Remembrance Day Ceremony.

The purpose of Remembrance is not just to pay respect to those that served and homage to those that sacrificed on our behalf. It is also that we never forget the carnage and destruction involved in a war. Hence the important phrase Never again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This topic is as important as ever, considering that the past few years, for the first time in decades, Canada is actively at war and not just "keeping the peace" among the blue helmets.

I agree!

Thanks all for restoring my faith that Canadians are still able to put aside differences for awhile when it comes to remembering the Vets or it seems to me that war just became even more costly in terms of the toll on humanity.
 
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