Will you be there?
Tomorrow, November 11, Canada will mark the 88th anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of the First World War, the “war to end all wars.”
And in this Year of the Veteran, the Royal Canadian Legion has expressed concern about continuing the legacy of remembrance as the images of the two world wars fade with time. What will happen to the legacy when no one is left who remembers?
The number of war veterans is dwindling, with the average age of vets from the Second World War now being 79, and the few remaining vets from the First World War well over 100, even for the youngest boy soldiers who joined the fight.
The Legion has a right to be concerned, and it is the surviving generations who must not forget the lessons of war, but it is now a question of how the day will be marked.
The sacrifices of the men and women should never be forgotten, and it is with sadness that I attend Remembrance Day parades every year and see fewer and fewer people gathered around the cenotaph.
Am I dreaming, or was November 11 once a statutory holiday everywhere in Canada? When did it change? Why was it considered less important
In recognition of the Year of the Veteran, downtown Orangeville businesses are honouring and showing appreciation to Veterans of Canada and her allies until the end of the week.
In accordance with the Canada Remembers Program, in an endeavor to keep alive the achievements and sacrifices made by those who served Canada in times of war and peace, participating downtown Orangeville businesses welcome veterans and those who served Canada and her allies throughout the week.
Downtown Orangeville is boasting an array of Canadian flags, waving in homage to those who served Canada. Poppies will be available at various locations, with donations used to support local veterans programs and than say the Civic holiday in August?
In my opinion, it is because of that fact that the crowds remain small on the actual day. After all, schools and many private offices do commemorate the day by observing a moment of silence or free coffee will be provided to all veterans at participating businesses.
Special window displays will be presented by downtown businesses, with a donation being made to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 233 by the downtown Orangeville BIA on behalf of the the top three window displays.
Theatre Orangeville will be presenting patrons with small Canadian flags at all performances of Mary’s Wedding on November 11 in honour and recognition of our veterans.
The community is invited to watch the parade of veterans that will depart from the Royal Canadian Legion and conclude at the cenotaph tomorrow at 11 a.m. as part of the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies. having a ceremony. But is this a way to honour our war heroes? To stay inside, and hold small private ceremonies, while those who fought for freedom are standing on guard at a cenotaph, sometimes in the driving rain and cold, wondering if their legacy will be remembered?
I think it is a crime that November 11th is not a statutory holiday, and I think it is a shame that our national commemoration of a day that has affected all of our lives, is conducted behind closed doors, in isolation, instead of at the town’s cenotaph, where the flag of Canada is proudly carried by a living vet.
It is true that time heals all wounds; but maybe it is more a fact that we do forget, and the day becomes less important.
The Legion has been working hard to continue the legacy, and this year the federal government is marking the Year of the Veteran as a reminder of our history. The year was filled with parades, celebrations and plaque unveilings, but what has the Year of the Veteran meant to you?
Did you take the time, anytime this year, to honour a veteran, in any way?
Will you stop at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to say thanks and honour those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom?
As time marches forward then, perhaps we should then consider the profound words written by George Santayana: “Those that cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”