Tag Archives: Remembrance Day

Old hymns and bagpipes, and where’s the peace?

I don’t know what to write about this morning’s Remembrance Day service that I haven’t covered already in my previous post. I’m ashamed to say it was my first one in a few years, first one since I moved to Victoria. All I have are scattered impressions and a couple of photographs, so I’ll share them randomly.

My daughter’s young man is a fourth-year cadet aiming to join the army, and I’m not sure how I feel about that because she seems to really like him and I know loving a man in a uniform leads to all sorts of complications besides the usual ones. Currently The Regiment he is attached to has members serving on combat operations in Afghanistan.

Bagpipes always make me cry.

During the ceremony we stood near a decorated Air Force officer. She was so tiny her medals hardly fit across the breast of her uniform. I wanted to know more about her. I’m sorry I didn’t have the kajones to introduce myself and ask.

People should probably not bring excitable dogs to a place where there’s going to be a 21-gun salute.

I really detest “Onward Christian Soldiers,” even when in the context of a Remembrance Day Ceremony. Even when I believed in Jesus, that hymn seemed just — wrong. I wasn’t the only one; the church choir I sang in for years resisted it as well.

You can really tell Victoria is a navy town. Either that or a lot more people show up to outside ceremonies here because the weather’s better than in Saskatchewan where I came from.

There are no WWI veterans left. There are few WWII veterans left either. I did, however see several blue berets and UN jackets.

When will all this remembering translate into true worldwide peace?


Oh yes, I will remember

I keep losing my poppy – I think they’re designed that way so you have to keep putting a toonie or a loonie into the cadets’ tray to get another one this time of year. That’s OK by me. My grandfather, a veteran of World War II, is long since passed away but I still remember.

Besides that, right now soldiers are returning from Afghanistan in coffins, maimed, wounded and suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Over the past 65 years since WWII our soldiers have been returning from Rwanda, Cyprus, Somalia and countless other peacekeeping missions that resembled only in varying degrees the meaning of that term.

On my reading list, for instance, is General Roméo Dallaire’s new book They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children. He says Canada is losing its moral soul internationally, evidenced by our non-action on child soldiers, our participation in failed “peace” keeping missions like Rwanda.

The issues of war and peace still need our attention; what better time of year to pause for a moment and think about the whole thing.

Except you won’t get any help on that score from Canada’s biggest retailers. According to them, Christmas started weeks ago. Remembrance Day? What’s that? Such a somber holiday is not very conducive to sales I guess. They don’t even have to close their doors for Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) any more. They suffer the young cadets and Legion volunteers to sell poppies outside their doors, but inside it’s all Christmas trees and holiday “music.” On the television it’s started: the heart-wrenching ads designed to give you that warm nostalgic feeling for Grandma’s home baked cookies and hot chocolate.

I say enough. To me every one of those ads, all the Christmas music (it’s not even Advent, if you’re so inclined to follow a Christian calendar) infusing the stores already – it’s an insult to the day we’re being asked to observe this coming Thursday.

I say enough by refusing to shop at stores where they’ve already started the unending  (until Boxing Day) vomit of Christmas marketing. Last night, horrified by a schmaltzy Canadian Tire ad, I Tweeted:

I’ve decided to #boycott stores that have #ChristmasAdsTooEarly starting with Canadian Tire.

That started a barrage of ReTweets and conversation, at least a dozen replies within a half hour of my post.

I’ve decided I’m on to something, and it’s more than #ChristmasTooEarly (my hasty hashtag). I think it’s a marketing fatigue – a feeling of hopelessly getting sucked into the Christmas Season Vortex of Expectations. I’m going to write about it in further posts, but for now I want to make this post about Remembrance Day and about starting my own boycott of the disrespectful retailers.

Meantime, I’m going with my daughter to the Remembrance Day parade here on Thursday. I’ll write about that. Then I’ll write more about my conflicted feelings around the holidays, and further on why I’m remembering to boycott the following shops for Christmas:

  • Canadian Tire
  • Zellers
  • La Senza
  • Leon’s

Any more that you’ve noticed? Any other thoughts on starting Christmas too early?