Friday, November 11, 2005

Remembrance Day - Veteran's Day

What is the proper salutation for this day? Yesterday, Shelagh Rogers ended her show on CBC Radio with "Happy Remembrance Day." That doesn't seem quite right, does it?

I struggle with the meaning of this day and the differences in the way it is observed on either side of the border. In Canada, the emphasis is placed on honouring the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who did not return from war. It is a somber day, marked by two minutes of silence at 11 AM, and the placing of wreaths at cenotaphs across the nation.

In the United States, Veteran's Day honours all who have served in the military, and Memorial Day is reserved for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. November 11th does not seem to carry the same gravitas south of the border, at least in the eyes of this wife of a veteran.

I was in Canada this morning, and stood in silent contemplation at 11 AM. Today, with bowed head and closed eyes, the concept of loss was no longer abstract. Now, I actually know someone who has been lost to war.

The tradional Canadian Remembrance Day service includes the reading of these lines:
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Rest in peace, Leon. You are not forgotten.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We will remember.