The View From Here – Sydney Nova Scotia community would best represent veterans by behaving with decorum

Tom Henihan
Remembrance Day should be a day not just of symbolically remembering the sacrifices veterans have made but also a time to dwell on the physical and emotional realities of their experience.

In a time when it is all too prevalent to express outrage and indignation at the slightest affront, we should remind ourselves to be disciplined and spirited in dealing with adversity and minor inconveniences.

In Sydney Nova Scotia, many city residents are angry because Remembrance Day celebrations were preempted at the of 5,000-seat Centre 200 Arena, the largest venue in city, due to a previous booking.

For the past two years, 2014 and 2015, Centre 200 Arena donated the use of the arena for the Remembrance Day ceremonies.

However, this year, Remembrance Day overlaps with an already scheduled event, an annual crafts show that has used the facility on the same weekend for 15 years.

This forced the Sydney Legion to a smaller 1,300-seat venue at relatively short notice.

It is understandable that people might be indignant on behalf of The Legion and veterans, feeling they rightly deserve preferential treatment and that the craft show should suffer the inconvenience of the venue being double booked.

It is also easy to see that the inconvenience and the logistical problems of canceling the craft show would be relatively large to the organizers and costly to the venue and that the craft show might wish to preserve its 15-year tradition of holding its event on the same weekend it always had.

Some residents were so incensed that they were calling for a boycott of the Craft Show, which seems excessively punitive considering that the craft show, putting on their event as it always did, intended no offense or inconvenience to veterans and the Sydney Legion.

Instead of recognizing that Centre 200 donated the venue to the Sydney Legion for the past two Remembrance Day celebrations and being confident they will do so again, the community members who take the liberty of speaking on behalf of veterans, find nothing more gallant to do than throw a tantrum, behave petulantly and engage in mob rule.

Although these people claim to be acting in solidarity with the veterans, calling for a boycott of the craft show is nothing more than mobilizing a mean spirited vendetta against an innocent party.

If these community members pretend to speak on behalf of veterans they should then emulate those they claim to represent and behave with decorum rather than acting like rabble-rousers.

Sydney’s Royal Canadian Legion President, Stephen MacLennan, while acknowledging the overwhelming support the Legion received regarding the issue with Remembrance Day celebrations venue, staying true to form he graciously stated that there was no hard feelings between the Legion and Centre 200.

It would seem appropriate if the community showed the same grace and equanimity.

Compared to what many veterans have experienced and witnessed, I am sure a change in venue must seem a trifling matter, especially if no one intended any disrespect.

I am also sure, that during the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Sydney the thoughts of veterans in attendance will not be on the size of the venue but on things far more solemn and profound.

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