This Remembrance Day,…a chance for reflection

Remembrance Day is to me a solemn day. Alongside Canada Day, I’d argue it is one of the national holidays that is uniquely part of our collective identity. While Canada Day may be the one reserved for boisterous and outgoing national pride, Remembrance Day has always been it’s counterpoint. Meant for us to reflect on what makes our country great, and the sacrifices generations before us gave up, to give us our country today.

Young and old, new Canadians and multi generational Canadians, conservative and liberal, all come together on Remembrance Day to pay their respects. It’s contemplative about who we were and currently are as a country.

On The 905er, this weeks’ episodes were devoted to Remembrance Day. In the region, there are two important institutions working hard to preserve the history of Canada’s sacrifices and involvements in the World Wars. We spoke with both the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum as well as the Juno Beach Centre. There was a point in both interviews where our subjects both gave essentially the same argument, unscripted and unprompted. Both members, viewed their institutions not as a glorification of war, but as a way to teach future generations the cost of war and to motivate them to find peaceful solutions to humanities differences. It was a powerful message which really stuck with me afterwards. I encourage you to listen to the episodes this week, as it really is introspective and an emotional view of our veterans and where we are today.

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I believe at the heart of it, we as Canadians agree with that sentiment. We are a proud people, proud of the society we are working to build, and the freedom we are able to enjoy. Remembrance Day is meant to be a focal point for all Canadians to stop and reflect. It’s why we collectively stop the country effectively at 11 am. In some cases, it’s the the most powerful and patriotic two minutes in all of Canada.

It is also this sombreness and reflective quality, which goes to the heart of the Canadian condition. We don’t want to be boisterous. We are doers. We see a job that needs to be done and we do it. Without fanfare or want of reward. It is this part of our culture, which stood out this week in a few stories in the news. American companies operating here in Canada, learned just how different we are as people. The American proclivity for using their veteran holidays to sell more goods, doesn’t translate north of the border. It’s just not who we are. Our veterans didn’t die so we could save 50% on mattresses.

These are trying times. We are in the midst of a global pandemic. It is the challenge of our generation. However, this Remembrance Day, is a chance for us to stop and reflect on the character of our veterans in the past. A generation that stood up and did what needed to be done to save the world. Maybe it’s time for what’s old to become new again.

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