We Remember – Or So We Say 

It is that time of year again. 

It seems like the year has flown by, really. But I suppose that is a good thing, in a way. By all accounts, 2016 was not a good year, personally (in many ways) or on a more grand and  societal scale.

One thing that occurred to me in the last weeks of October, was the American election. We’re fast approaching Veterans day \ Remembrance day (depending on your side of the border). But this election would seem to cast a shadow over that day (and it’s May counterpart, memorial day).

It’s safe to say that when it comes to veterans affairs, few in American politics have proven capable of doing much more than creating wind on the subject. But this campaigns Republican nominee takes it to a WHOLE new level. It’s not just actions not matching words (not even considering the whole Kahn fiasco!), it’s also taking the money right from their caregivers wallets. First off, don’t get me wrong . . . failure to donate money (even to your own charity drive\gala\whatever!) is not theft, persay. But it looks EXTREMELY bad.

And if promises about action to the VA are little more than empty words from any other politician running for any office, imagine what they look like from this guy! Most of the time, we have to wait until they are in office to for proof that their care is fake. He proved he didn’t give a shit DURING HIS CAMPAIGN!

If Hillary were smart, she would grab this by the horns and run with it. Change (or at least, Kickstart) the required improvements to the American VA system. Make it your Obamacare, your legacy. And do it so publicly that anyone on ANY side that wants to fight it just for the sake of fighting it, is highlighted as the uncaring inhuman trash that they are. 

Though the topic of Veterans issues has not really occurred to me before now, I do have a sympathetic ear towards them. I may have problems with the battles, and why they are sent to fight them in the first place. And I may have problems with why some join the military. But if they come home with mental and\or physical problems after fighting for their nation, then we should do the humane thing and do all we can to help these people.

Politics and politicians aside, if you stand by the flag and the soldiers, and yet pay no heed to the plights of those you  supposedly care so much about . . . How are you any better?

Though that part ran on a bit longer than I had intended, my real purpose for this piece was more centered here in Canada. On an annoying phenomenon that first appeared last year, and seems to have continued this year (and no doubt, will continue for years to come).

That phenomenon is, the shaming of retailers that dare to start putting out Christmas oriented displays and products after (or just before) Halloween is over. It is seen as disrespectful to the fallen soldiers to stock such items before November 11th, the day of remembrance.

In all honesty, I am not a fan of it this early either. The first Christmas oriented retail sightings of this year were (first) some of last weeks flyers, and (second) a display in the window of a small 2ed hand store near me. My nearby supermarket already has the outdoor decorations for sale in front, and likely has the candy out as well (I didn’t check).

My dislike for the early start to the holiday season is not because of any offense to the overlapping onto remembrance day, however. My dislike is purely because, it’s to early! 

Being extremely cynical and going on 30 is likely part of it. As is working customer service. I realized long ago that the controversial greeting “Happy Holidays!” is an oxymoron in many cases. People get so stressed out in fulfilling what they feel are their consumerist duties that it all becomes one giant headache. Of course, there are those that retain a child’s love of the holidays. But having worked retail for far to long, they are FAR from the norm.

But even aside from all that anecdotal stuff, it’s still nuts to push the season start further and further back with each passing year (though fortunately, not as far back as some British brand’s). Though WORKING in it understandably can make you come to a point where you are glad for the arrival of January 2ed (the final 3 months of the year are the worst), even the passive experience can become taxing. I mean, how long can anyone stand holiday music at every store before it gets old? 

As for how this plays into remembrance day. . . It doesn’t. To say that it does is just silly.

Having worked in retail for so long (and thus having observed behaviors of the macro of consumers) has made this movement (or whatever you want to call it) amusing.By law  (at least in Manitoba), there are severe restrictions on what items can and can’t be sold between 12am and 1pm on November 11th. I know, because I have had to restrict the sale of many items to many annoyed consumers when working that shift in a C store. After 1 however, it’s business as usual. 

Which has always amused me. 

Many religious holidays get the special treatment of closed businesses and government offices. But not remembrance day. A day that (judging by the words of many people!) could be seen as the most important of them all, gets a partial observation. 

And the government is not the one I am pointing a finger at, either. It’s part in governing hours of operation of business is irrelevant really. We ourselves, make our own decisions on when to shop. 

I personally don’t care when you shop, on remembrance day or any other day. The act of shopping makes no difference whatsoever on ANYTHING related. That said however, if you are one of these people complaining about a store having its holiday oriented and items out on or before remembrance day, you had better not be in the store shopping. For ANYTHING. 

I do not wear a poppy. For the past 2 or 3 years, I have not. I used to take the time to justify my reasons (excuses, depending on the audience), but I don’t bother anymore. I feel no need to pretend to feel for a cause I never even think of in the other 364 days of the year. 

Are you REALLY any different? Unless directly related or connected to military personnel, I highly doubt it. 

I say this, because it’s what occurs to me when I see hordes of poppy adorned people filling carts in grocery, department and other stores on November 11th. Your flower says you care, you Remember. But your cart says “I remember so long as this don’t get in the way of MY agenda!”. 

Just saying .


If you wish to do something to ACTUALLY help (as opposed to just FEELING warm and fuzzy), here are some veterans related charities you may consider giving to (or becoming a member of, if you have the time and\or money to spare). 

A word of advice . . . there are many charities, but not all are equal in terms of minimal administration fees and maximum charitable output. Use the CRA charity listings to inform yourself (Hint: some are, in my honest opinion, TERRIBLE). 

The name search is usually good, but for some charities that are well  known by a shorthand of their full name (Such as the ALS Society, or The War Amps), use their Registration Number instead (it’s usually listed openly on a site, under “Donate Today”, or retrievable with a search engine query. For example, the registration for Wounded Warriors is 828082727 RR0001. 

Hint #2: There is a reason you won’t find WW on my list.

Sorry Americans, I have none for you. Mainly due to not knowing (firstly) of any organizations off hand, or (more importantly) how to vet them financially. 

Royal Canadian Legion

The best way to financially support these guys is though the poppy campaign, it seems. But you can become a member . 

PTSD Association Of Canada 
This charity both helps and raises awareness for those afflicted by post traumatic stress disorder. Or as George Carlin clarified it . . . Shell Shock. Considering the seemingly benign nature of post traumatic stress disorder, is there any wonder why this gets so little attention? 

Donate Here

The War Amps

Many people likley already know this charity though their key tag campaign. They assist children and adults in all walks of life (including veterans) financially, therapeutically or otherwise towards the goal of living life fully despite amputation. 

Donate Here

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