Today is November 11th, remembrance day in Canada and veterans day in the US. Its the one day a year that society puts aside to remember the sacrifices of past and present veterans and military service members.
Or so I have been taught previous to this point all of my life. Along side various little disrespectful actions that one can take during this day, one being forgoing a poppy.
Ah yes. It seems that on this day, many become the “disrespect police”, quick to point out any and every offensive action of others, often times publicly. Such as this gem from a local web portal.
This discussion quickly became amusing after multiple posters questioned why the action was disrespectful, and one poster told the OP to talk to his or her grandfather, whom is a veteran who also has his lights on.
But this post is about something that I have been noticing every year, with most every holiday, but most notably on this day of “respect”. It is about the observation that our society likes to SAY we care, but our actions betray us.
Take the start page of this local forum to my area.
I am not interested in any of the various every day chatter, or the couple of posts relevant to the day. The one that stands out, is the one inquiring about store hours on stats (statutory holidays).
This is a reoccurring discussion during most holidays, despite the fact that most stores simply opt to Sunday hours on such days. And on remembrance day, stores either can only sell very restricted items or can not open before 1pm.
Today, the topic says quite a lot about the attitude of many within society towards this day of “respect”. Many that claim to respect the day, apparently can not see the mixed messages sent by crowding retail stores later the same day.
Everyone who has worked retail has a story like this. Watching these people trying to get into closed stores. Trying to haggle with clerks to buy restricted items such as cigarettes (in my case, as the guy was on the way to the big ceremony in this area).
And of course there are the hoards of these people dawning their poppies, and filling their carts with all sorts of non essential items. An amusing phenomenon I see most every year in my current line of work.
This says to me, that many in our society should really back down on upholding the “moral obligation” to show respect to the veterans. Of course, like any other generalization, it is not a blanket statement that is inclusive of all.
However, a good question that all should ask is, should all unnecessary retail outlets be closed on this day, out of respect?
If you have a problem with this, then one should consider:
1.) their personal time management skills (with most retailers open 16 hours a day previous to this point, why does one day matter so much?!)
2.) If you can not “sacrifice” shopping and retail for one day, how can you call the actions of anyone else disrespectful?
I personally do not think that the stores should be closed. All in all, I could not really care less. Remembrance day is alike most every other “sacred” holiday to the masses, in that its all about the symbolism. A combination of patriotism and religion, which hits home to a great many. Its why photos like this have so much emotional “impact” on people.
Many will likely find this post to be disrespectful. Fine by me. That is the default reaction of most to having someone shine criticism on something that they consider so cherished.
But to those people, I say this.
No, I do not wear a poppy, nor do I attend/watch any of the services on television. All in all, I do not make any adjustment to my day in honer of the day.
I do not feel the need, because I already (in my own way) show my respect, in the other 364 days of the year.
I may not openly wear it on my sleeve, or my lapel. But I make it a point to try not to take for granted my place in the world.
Where I live, what I have, what could be had things turned out even a little bit differently at any point in history. And of course, there is the future, where we are going.