Tomorrow is Remembrance Day in Canada, and Veterans Day in America. I fully intend on pausing for silent reflection, at 11:00 if possible, and if I encounter any veterans in the next little while, I will thank them personally for the sacrifices they made. However, that is just about all that I will be doing. I respect the veterans plenty, but past a certain point taking part in these rituals just seems like going through motions.
My view on things like flag pins, ribbons, and poppies is that while they probably started out as meaningful symbols, the fact is that any monkey can wear them. You know that saying, "Actions speak louder than words"? The same thing applies here. I make donations to the Royal Canadian Legion when I get the chance to, because I think that making sure our veterans are taken care of, and can teach their legacy to the next generation, is more important than wearing a glorified button just because people expect you to.
For the record, my immediate family does not have any military experience that I am aware of, but that does not mean I was not affected by the various wars Canada has been involved in. My grandmother and great-aunt both had to flee their home, during The Blitzkrieg in The Second World War. Several of my friends have had grandparents fight in World War II and/or Korea, and friends of my parents have a son who fought in Desert Storm. So anyone who completely ignored what I just said, and thinks that I'm somehow blind to what the military has done, really doesn't know what they're talking about.
This brings me to a pet peeve that I've had ever since 9/11, namely the accusation that someone who doesn't support their country's soldiers is unpatriotic or a traitor. Not only is that statement extremely defamatory, but it holds no water whatsoever. I support our soldiers just fine, but anyone who's read these blogs for a while knows that I definitely don't support the government, nor do I have much confidence in where this country may be heading nowadays. That's not treason, that's caring enough to try to fix this country's problems. In my mind, that's patriotism, not blindly accepting everything that Ottawa or Washington does.
I also find statements like If You Don't Stand Behind Our Troops, Feel Free to Stand In Front of Them, flat out disgusting. One of the things that our soldiers have supposedly fought and died for, is our freedom to speak out in any form, never mind against our government. Besides, the fault in this statement is that it assumes that if you're against conflicts like the war in Afghanistan, then you are, again, against the troops fighting it. I can't speak for everyone, but personally my beef is with whoever decided to go in there in the first place, given that all we are doing is replacing one group of fundamentalist warlords with another. Oh, and by the way, why hasn't anyone been that concerned with finding the guy who "officially" put us there in the first place? Remember him?
Ok, that got a little off track, but I trust my point is clear. Just because you won't likely see me wearing a flag pin or a poppy, doesn't mean that I don't care about my country, or its soldiers. I just exercise my right as a Canadian citizen to care about both in my own way. I encourage all of you to do so in your own way, too. Speaking of which, if any veterans, past or present are watching this video... thank you, on behalf of all of us. Enough said.