EDITORIAL: Keep the spotlight on veterans on Remembrance Day

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

Remembrance Day turned just a bit farcical this year as, instead of focussing on the sacrifice veterans have made, the whole country turned their attention to whether immigrants cared enough about veterans or not. While there are certainly a number of interesting things that could be said about Remembrance Day, veterans and poppies, any kind of worthwhile discussion was quickly tossed out the window as the country divided into two camps: racist and snowflake based on each groups’ description of the other.

Regardless of whether you think it was right of Sportsnet to fire Don Cherry for his comments, doing it on Remembrance Day itself certainly didn’t benefit anyone (the argument that it was important to act right away doesn’t hold up as that would have been Nov. 9 or 10).

In the U.K. things similarly turned foul quickly, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson apparently laid the wreath upside down, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn supposedly didn’t bow far enough and the BBC was accused of a cover-up as it showed old footage and not the former blunder.

In 100 Mile House, things didn’t go quite as poorly as all that. The political divide, at least during the ceremony and unlike in the U.S., wasn’t as noticeable as Liberal MLA Donna Barnett read out NDP Premier John Horgan’s statement in silence. Furthermore, despite some of the local feelings on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his comments were respectfully received in silence as well (the comment section on Facebook a few hours later was another matter). There was also a massive turnout for the ceremony and parade, which was good to see.

However, even the 100 Mile House ceremony briefly teetered, unfortunately, on the border of some minor mishaps. As some of the officials came to the front to lay down their wreaths, the stands wobbled, walked and moved. This prompted some elbow nudging, murmurs and snickers among those sitting close enough to notice.

As things proceeded, one stand seemed to just about fall apart altogether making the murmurs and snickers just a bit more noticeable. Ultimately, the wreath did fall off but in a stroke of luck managed to stay upright leaning against it rather than fall down, or worse, knock a whole bunch of other ones over. That would have taken a bit of focus off the reverence our veterans deserve.

Remembrance Day should be just about remembering and appreciating veterans, not sports commentators, immigrants, gaffes or mishaps. To that extent, I’ll be putting some extra money in the poppy box this year. Let’s hope next year we can keep the spotlight on veterans on Remembrance Day.


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