Tuesday, November 11, 2014


My mother used to call it Armistice Day when I was growing up in Buffalo, New York.  Later, I heard it called Veteran's Day. Now I know it as Remembrance Day here in Canada.

Although there were many members of my family who served in the military, only a cousin was lost in World War II.  We American Baby Boomers were not well taught on the sacrifices made for our freedoms in the early days, but members of my generation would eventually play a large role in war as the Viet Nam War escalated.

Too bad, that war was one that many wanted to ignore. There were no parades or ceremonies to commend the participants in that war. The devastation to those who fought in another country's civil war should have taught everyone a lesson about getting involved in a country's internal struggles, but it hasn't. Americans are too quick to get involved in countries it has no business getting involved in. One of the reasons I moved to Canada was in protest of that dangerous American policy as exampled by the Viet Nam "Incursion."  They weren't even able to call it a "war" because it was an undeclared war.  Then came the Iraq War which was also given another name because it was also an illegal invasion of a sovereign country.

That is why I appreciate the Remembrance Day events here in Canada so much more than in the US. It is very important to honour those who stood up for the country while they are still alive; those who lost their lives in service to their country and those who returned, never the same after witnessing the devastation of war. Canada takes that into consideration far more than its American cousins. Canada chose to stay out of Viet Nam as well as Iraq. I believe that Canada has it right in that regard.

There is an added poignancy to this year's services: the recent deaths of two active servicemen by self-proclaimed jihadists, Canadians killing Canadians who are sworn to protect and represent our democracy. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo were killed within days of each other by recent converts to Islam. There are still many questions without answers regarding these acts of domestic terrorism but the fact remains that another two fine men are now being honoured for their service to Canada.

We will probably always have a day when we remember those who made the "ultimate sacrifice." We cherish those who served as we should. We must also realize that, if it were not for those brave souls, we might be living in a far different world than we do now.

Thanks from a grateful immigrant.