Monday, November 08, 2004

With deference and great respect very much the norm

Some people are so tone-deaf it's a wonder they don't annoy themselves to death. A Toronto MP wants to make Remembrance Day a federal statutory holiday. "Here is an opportunity for an enterprising young member of Parliament of any political stripe," McTeague said. "I think there has to be some direction given to a formal, permanent and long-lasting tribute to our fallen comrades, who by land, air and sea, gave us the country we have today." You want to give formal, permanent and long-lasting tribute to the Canadian military past and present? Stop mucking about with empty procedural gestures, and give them some money. Fund their comrades and heirs sufficiently that they're not forced to work with unarmoured personnel carriers and rusting subs. Remembrance Day is already respected and solemnized to a very healthy extent. Schools and other institutions across the country observe memorial services of some sort. It's one of the few times - the anniversary of D-Day being another - that Canadian public discourse actually seems to realize that our soldiers used to fight to preserve freedom and liberty, before the hateful term of "peacekeeping" came into being; it's acknowledged, if tacitly, that we still do remember those who fell doing something far more noble than guarding UN apparatchiks. Making November 11 a statutory holiday isn't going to increase observance; if anything, I think it might decrease it. Doing so would produce yet another rotating three-to-four-day-weekend, which I highly doubt many would use to honour veterans. Many might take road trips or visit the cottage one last time before winter, maybe, but not honour veterans. Here in Ottawa, of course, the War Memorial at Elgin and Wellington is ground zero for Remembrance Day ceremonies. Most of the city is shut down until noon. Would the other half-day off make a difference in the general mood or attitude towards observance? I'm not inclined to think so. Showing some real respect for the necessity of the Forces, and the duty served by past and present members, would have genuine impact in the public mind. Enacting another holiday won't. This is yet another empty gesture, from the reigning princes of the same in the Liberal politburo.


Blogger Andrew said...

That needed to be said. Thanks.

11/08/2004 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger The Tiger said...

I'm not sure I agree. I mean, yes, I think it is an empty gesture from an empty government. And I think that one can't compel observance -- nor would one want to (i.e. political re-education is distasteful on any side).

But when I was in Halifax last year, I did see how it worked as a statutory holiday -- no classes, big ceremony downtown at the war memorial, and I felt that it did add something to it. It was much easier to justify heading down there to myself, and there were many more who were willing to.

11/09/2004 03:30:00 AM  

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