Commentary – Thursday to remember

Jeff Burgar

I was very much torn between writing sincere and heartfelt words on Remembrance Day and what it means to so many Canadians. Torn between that, and something else that is now in the news.
As can be seen in the pages of this newspaper, there is a long list of local veterans who served in wars and peace actions around the world. I think it is disgraceful the action of Canada’s prime minister has become a lightning rod of controversy. Remembrance Day should be a day, and a week, of giving thanks to all those who serve. Too many of those paid the ultimate price.
I find it in incredibly disrespectful their memory is now mired in a discussion of when it is appropriate to raise or lower our national flag.
I also find it incredibly insensitive the memory of Indigenous children finds itself also mired in this same discussion.
I could say unfortunate, but that would imply somebody, someplace, was asleep at the switch and this whole thing is an accident. Veterans, those who serve, and those children deserved much more intelligent thought and attention. What they are getting is virtue signals from an idiot. More comments on this next week.
This week, this Thursday, is Canada’s Remembrance Day. Ordinarily, Legion and veteran halls across this country would be packed with people observing the day of remembering and showing their respect. Because of COVID, most places are closed.
It is gratifying to see, in so many places across Canada, attendance at Remembrance Day services up to last year was actually increasing each year. Last year, and this year, so many places cancelled services because of COVID. Up to then, it was not unusual to find standing room only in Legion Halls. Perhaps we are not only remembering and appreciating those who serve and have served, but also the world, the freedoms we enjoyed then, and enjoy today.
And especially, those who preserve those freedoms.
Absolutely, we should not forget them, what they did, and those today who serve in so many often thankless fields are doing.
Sometimes it is argued much of what we have is not worth saving. There are so many counter arguments to that. Most of us know even the fact we can indeed argue about it is an accomplishment people gave their lives to protect. As is said often in speeches, poems and songs, “Freedom isn’t free.”
There will still be services. Some places are limited to outdoor ceremonies. Some are carrying live Internet feeds [the Internet gods be willing], and radio and TV feeds of local services. There will of course, be the national feeds from Ottawa. So it will happen, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, you are encouraged to take at least two minutes of your time for a moment of silence. Or, tune in or click on the entire services.

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