Alfred Heim
Published On: Tue, Nov 11th, 2014

Remembrance Day 2014 – A Statutory Necessity by Reg Coffey

Ingleside Cenotaph 11Nov14


Ingleside – Today a small group of local residents were at the Cenotaph in Ingleside to honour the memory of soldiers who served in war to protect our way of life. The few people who were there observed two minutes of silence in respectful, quiet contemplation and gave thanks to the fallen for their sacrifices. There were no parades, no wreath laying, no Last Post playing and no speeches. That all happened on Sunday, November 9.

Canadian tradition dictates that 2 minutes of silence should be observed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month as that time marks when the armistice in WW1 became effective. The Department of Veterans Affairs describes today as a day of “remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace”.

Unfortunately the day to honour our military, past and present, has become a matter of convenience, especially if it happens to land on a weekday. Next year Remembrance day will land on a Wednesday. Does that mean all the parades and ceremonies will be on the 8th or the 14th of November.

This year’s Remembrance Day has been particularly poignant due to the tragic deaths of Cpl. Nathan Cirrilo and WO Patrice Vincent. It brought the reality of being member of the military right into our faces. Poppies are the recognized symbol of Remembrance Day and, in spite of the casual disrespect of the poppy locally, sales were at an all time high. Public opinion has now swung to establishing Remembrance Day as statutory holiday across Canada. It is already a holiday for federal employees and in all three territories and six of the ten provinces. Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are the exceptions.

Perhaps by making today a statutory holiday it would be a more honest tribute to the fallen, to make remembering a priority to all Canadians, rather than an inconvenience if the day happens to land on a weekday. We must remember why we honour this day and respect the occasion with sincerity. The ceremonies and parades should not be rescheduled as a matter of convenience.

For those who chose to forget the past are doomed to repeat it.