Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day in Canada

It’s Remembrance Day in Canada. I will go to the local Cloverdale Cenotaph this morning. I feel a need this year to stand with others in tribute to my fallen countrymen in past wars. A TV journalist asked people yesterday how it felt to wear the red poppy and the predictable one word answers resulted – “proud.” Whenever I have travelled internationally I have been glad for the Canadian flag on my luggage and backpack. Other countries welcome us. I am compelled this morning to visit the Cenotaph because my father was in the Canadian Air Force during World War II. Coming from the town of Hepburn, Saskatchewan, a largely Mennonite community, and himself the youngest son of Mennonite immigrants from Ukraine, he stepped out of cultural pacifism to enlist. I am proud of him for that. I am. He never saw action overseas. He was assigned to aircraft maintenance and stationed in Vancouver, Gananoque and the Yukon. Christine’s father was an officer in the British Royal Navy and saw action at sea. Both of these men are gone now. During my adult years while Canada has been involved in conflicts overseas, conscription never required my personal investment. I and my children and now their children have grown up within the shelter of a freedom that was very costly. I acknowledge that with deep gratitude today. I am proud of my heritage and proud to be a Canadian.

I still think that the dated Molson sponsored "I Am Canadian" rant is an inspiring piece of Canadian culture and I treasure the words of our Canadian National Anthem.


  1. Thanks for the post Uncle Ron. I appreciate your willingness to ponder 'aloud' on your blog. Remembrance day certainly affords us the opportunity to reflect, and if we're brave, sort through our own stance as Christians on war and peacemaking. It of course reminded me too of Gramps and his involvment (whether large or small) in keeping Canada a country where we enjoy great freedom to live in relative peace. It also turns my thoughts to how can we transform our 'remembering' and contemplative moments into active peacemaking moments - even though we were never conscripted. At our church next year we may focus on giving thanks in a real practical way by giving to a 'veteran fund' or honoring vets that have it hard now in a lot of ways. We want to brainstorm how we can love our vets, who are still alive, in practical and caring ways. But we also want to brainstorm how we as a faith community can love and pray for our 'enemies' better as well. How do we transform our 'remembering' into practical love of not only our 'war heroes' but also our enemies? Someone said, "there's a problem with our theology when God hates all the same people we do." I'm so thankful that Canada historically has been internationally known as a peacekeeping; peacemaking country.
    So, Uncle Ron, I join you in your thankfulness to God for being part of a nation that has a heritage and a history of an international reputation of peace. Let's pray that would continue with our current conservative government.

  2. Thank you Matt, for your understanding and provocative comments about the integration of a peace theology with the reality of a wider community in which lives have been risked and expended in defence of our own national freedom and that of others. I will look forward to hearing what practical actions your worshipping fellowship decide can appropiately honour its values while paying respect to those who have served their country. Thanks for reading and writing.