I do not write a traditional Remembrance Day post on November 11th of every year, because I think that we should be honoring and thanking our veterans each and every day for the sacrifices that they have made throughout our history in order that we might live in freedom. I think that Remembrance Day has been perverted by politicians and used by them for photo opts, because they need to be seen as caring about our veterans publicly, while privately they are cutting back on the monies needed to provide essential services such as, medical care, job training and even burial rights for our veterans who return home in body bags, disabled or suffering from Battle Fatigue, or war related Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I refuse to be a part of this phony, two-faced, hypocritical practice any longer and so take 2 minutes of silence in my living room by myself and remember, avoiding the public spectacles and writing my Remembrance Day post on the 12th of every November.
I write the post on the 12th instead of the 11th so that the families of the fallen and the living suffering soldier get a chance to honor their dead, without distraction. I do realise that for the families of the veteran whether they died, or are still alive Remembrance Day is an important day and it is at least an acknowledgement of what they have had to endure and a small token of thanks to the fallen soldier and them for the sacrifices they have made and the hardships that they have all had to endure. I mean no disrespect to them, nor do I throw them in the same pot with the rest of Canadians when I say the things that I do about Remembrance day and how it has become a way to appease guilty consciences and justify new wars instead of trying to avoid war as the pledge to never forget was supposed to remind us. I think that for them their should be a Remembrance Day every day of the year; I only wish that all the remembering actually translated into more services for them and our soldiers, when our soldiers services are no longer required by the military and the country they served so faithfully and honorably.
“Lest we forget”, meant lest we forget the horrors of war. Remembrance Day was a day set aside to remind us that war should be avoided at all cost, because the price of war in terms of human life was too horrific and caused too much pain and suffering. Remembrance Day was a day set aside to remind us that war should only be entered into as a last choice, when all hope of peaceful and diplomatic solutions have failed; this day was never meant to glorify war and promote and parade our military might for all the world to see, or promote the next war.
It is nice to build statues and open museums, wear poppies and stand quietly for two minutes remembering those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, but what of those who live on, often found among our street people, our homeless and beggars, forgotten by our government and scorned by the people who pass them by in the street as bums? What of these soldiers that live on, that we as Canadians urge our local governments to get off the street, because they are asking passers-by for money, so they can eat, or get a cup of coffee and force out of abandon buildings that they gather in for shelter, because we feel that they are an embarrassment?
Marching down our city streets is good for morale and good for our consciences, but what does it really do for our veteran’s families who have for too long had to suffer the burden of taking care of their husbands and children returning from overseas doing their duty injured with little or no help from the Government of Canada? What good are all the parades on Remembrance Day if the families of our soldiers must fight a war with the government just to get help taking care of those who have so courageously put themselves in harm’s way for us? By what right do these politicians lay wreaths and give speeches on Remembrance Day after ignoring the desperate pleas of our soldiers family for help the rest of the year and working to cut back on services as well?
By what right as Canadians do we wear poppies, gather around statues in parks, lay wreaths when we stand by, do nothing and allow the soldiers and their families to be treated in such a shabby, extremely stressful, more often than not demeaning and humiliating manner? In my opinion Remembrance Day has been turned into a flag waving, drum beating spectacle of the worst kind, with politicians of every stripe talking loud and signifying nothing. In my opinion Remembrance day has stopped being about the veterans and turned into a selfish way for Canadians to once a year appease their guilty consciences for the way they have allowed our veterans to be treated for the other 364 days of the year. I refuse to participate in this spectacle and so take 2 minutes of silence in my living room by myself and remember.
There has been much to say about what color of poppy is okay to wear, with politicians jumping into the fray and calling for the wearing of the White poppy to end; White, or Red poppy, I say, “Who cares?” The red poppy is a symbol, a tradition, but it is not what Remembrance Day is all about, nor are the parades, or the ceremonies held in every park in this country on this day. Remembering and honoring our veterans should be what this day is all about and in saying that I say that, “All forms of this type of remembrance should be recognised, appreciated and respected and that no one group has the right to suggest, or demand how another chooses to honor their fallen, or what are the right symbols to use is when doing so. Our veterans fought the hard fight, some have become disabled and some have died to protect our freedoms and those freedoms including the right to enjoy freedom of expression and choice. I see nothing wrong with the White poppy and I do not think that the veterans that died would either. For those of our veterans that are still living and suffering under the monetary cuts that are reducing what few essential services that are available to them, I think that they have far greater things to worry about than the color of the poppy someone is wearing.”
I think that we need as Canadians to stop putting so much stock into a one day once a year event and start caring about our veterans needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the whole year through. It is distasteful to me that the same people who put the making and the saving of money a priority when considering what social programs that are needed to address the basic and fundamental needs of our veterans and their families and those who stand by and allow it to happen grand stand the most on this day. It never ceases to amaze me that the same politicians making the monetary cuts to Veteran‘s Affairs are also those people who have the temerity and the unmitigated gall to participate in Remembrance Day ceremonies, as if they gave a damn about our veterans and their families.
I have this year as in past years not posted this post on Remembrance Day itself, so that I do not offend or unintentionally insult the families of the fallen, or the soldiers that are still living. I have the deepest respect for what they do and what they have sacrificed and I will never give up the fight to see that they are treated in a more fair, compassionate manner; a manner that more reflects what they have sacrificed so that we could live in peace, in a democratic country, safely and without fear.
In closing I would just like to say thank you to all of Canadian soldiers for all that they have done, for what they are doing and for what they will be called upon to do in the future. I would also like to say thank you to their families and send out a prayer for all that they have suffered in the past, for all they are suffering right now and for all they will be asked to suffer and endure in the future. God Bless you all. May you all find peace and comfort in God’s embrace, until the time comes that the need to go to war is no more.