Veterans Day

So, about a year ago I proposed, as I have done in previous years, that we should have a Veterans Day. After all, I said, our American neighbours have one so we should have one, too, right? But, since they have their’s on 11 November, which is already our Remembrance Day …

… maybe we should gave ours, complete with sales and parades, in May … perhaps coinciding with their Memorial Day (the last Monday in May and, roughly, equivalent to our Remembrance Day ~ chosen to be near the end of the Civil War (General Robert E Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, but President Johnson (who succeeded Lincoln) officially declared an end to the insurrection on May 9, 1865) but not to memorialize any specific battle). But we already have Victoria Day in late May. Perhaps the second Sunday in June would be better.

The point is to separate Remembrance Day from the Royal Canadian Legion’s and Veterans Affairs Canada‘s attempts to make make it into a de facto Veterans Day. Let’s let the Legion and VAC break out the bands and the bunting and have celebrations and parades with all the trimmings. And let’s make Remembrance Day the responsibility of Rideau Hall. It might remain a statutory holiday or it could be moved, as the British have, to the second Sunday in November which is (almost always, I think, the closest Sunday to November 11th) and the statutory holiday might be moved to the late spring and to Veterans Day.

The ‘celebration’ on Remembrance Day should be solemn and dedicated, totally, to one single notion: remembering those who died ~ and only those who died ~ in Canada’s service. The services should be short and simple: the national anthem; the reading of the Act of Remembrance; a gun salute; two minutes of silence; laying of wreaths by (at the national level) the Governor General (for the country), the Silver Cross Mother (it could be widow or a father, too, I suppose) (for obvious reasons), the Prime Minister (for the Government of Canada), the Chief of the Defence Staff (for the Canadian Armed Forces), by representatives of veterans and of the youth of Canada (together) and by representatives of foreign countries in Canada …

… but there is no need for prayers nor for parades ~ all we need to do is remember, quietly, except for the guns and the bugles and the piper playing a lament, those who died for our country.

We can have parades and celebrations in the spring, when we honour veterans ~ the men and women who served out country and came home, alive, to tell us about it. By all mans, let’s have a Veterans Day, just not on November 11th.

Published by Ted Campbell

Old, retired Canadian soldier, Conservative ~ socially moderate, but a fiscal hawk. A husband, father and grandfather. Published material is posted under the "Fair Dealing" provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act for the purposes of research, private study and education.

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