Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Remembrance Day in Canada
A NEW LEARNING
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.