Is Remembrance Day too much about war, and not enough about peace?

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Photo: Viamoi

Remembrance Day is changing as the veterans of the First and Second World Wars, and the Korean War, pass away. Today more attention is being paid to the veterans of recent conflicts, such as Afghanistan, and the speeches from Government officials freely connect the battles of the past, such as Vimy Ridge, with the current fighting in Kandahar.

This is leaving many to wonder why we gather together each November 11. Is it to mourn the dead, or to adulate them? Do we lament war, or commemorate it?

Remembrance Day was first marked within the British Commonwealth (which included Canada) on November 11, 1919, at 11 a.m. to commemorate the end of the First World War upon the German signing of the Armistice.

According to the Government of Canada, we continue to celebrate this date to

“… honour those who fought for Canada in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as those who have served since then.”

Red poppies became a popular symbol of Remembrance Day due to John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” and their blood-red colour. His famous poem is hardly a call for peace. Instead, through McRae, the voices of the dead soldiers urge the reader to fight on, and “Take up our quarrel with the foe.”

Photo: Fernando Mattias Photography

However, this militarized focus on Remembrance Day is not shared by all. One of the most prominent examples of this is the white poppy campaign, which dates back to 1933. This poppy is meant to symbolize the need for peace and to commemorate the war-related deaths of both civilians and service men and women.

The white poppy campaign is not without controversy even today, as some peace groups seek to revise the anti-war symbol. The Royal Canadian Legion and other groups feel that it denigrates the symbol of those who have died while serving their country (as well as infringing on the Legion’s trademark of the red poppy symbol, used in their fundraising – page 41 of the Poppy Manual).

What is your opinion?

Do you feel that Remembrance Day has become a commemoration of war, or does it remain a time to think about peace?

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431 Responses to “Is Remembrance Day too much about war, and not enough about peace?”

  1. Deeply SadNovember 11, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    Every Remembrance Day, I am deeply, deeply sad, angry and alone. I am a pacifist, a peacenik, lover of love and acceptance. I am an idealist…I feel uncomfortable, silenced. John Lennon is respected for his song “Imagine” and Gandhi is reverred akin to a godlike figure for these words,

    “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”

    “What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?”

    Yet I feel alone and chastised in my thoughts that Remebrance Day is an awful commemoration, a day that supports military involvment and violence…a day that sends the message that killing others is justified based on an ideology or belief. It’s about military…simple not peace. How can an Iraqi, Afghani or Serbian Canadian respect this country for bombing and killing their families? It’s a confusing, dark and shameful day. I will never acknowledge it and be made to feel bad that I am disrespecting “veterans.”

  2. GizellaNovember 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Ridiculous to compare our ‘policing’ presence in places like Kandahar, where the soldiers are men and women who have chosen the army as their career (with all the risks and benefits that go with that), with the hundreds and thousands of dead in the first and second world wars, most of them young men conscripted to join the army. There is just no comparison, and using Remembrance Day to commemorate our modern ‘wars’is an insult to the memory of those long dead young men.

  3. margaret beresfordFebruary 27, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    My father was a veteran of both WW1 and WW11. The last thing he fought for was a constant state of war for resources or control. He fought for PEACE and only PEACE. The constant glorifying of war he would find insulting and degrading. It is always the leaders who have never fought in any war that are the strongest voices lying about the economic reasons behind the gains of so very few.

  4. rob clementDecember 11, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    We need to remember those that died for us, not glorify current tail wagging. Peace will never come from the barrel of a gun.

  5. Teri DixDecember 3, 2010 at 1:24 am #

    I don’t think we can do enuff remembering about the wars that have been fought and the wars we are involved in now. We could be in a Country where everyone had blonde hair……….. where women could not vote…………. where all handicapped babies were killed at birth; mentally ill people were disposed of; certainly no immigration allowed for people who did not have the ‘Aryan’ coloring; and while a second language is great, we would all be speaking in German. I am grateful to my Father who went out to fight with optimism and came back a changed man with nightmares and ghastly memories. War IS horrible……… but sometimes, what are the alternatives???
    We need a whole week of Remembrance…. one day is probably not long enuff!! We DO need to honour these Men and Women, and let them tell their stories— often!

  6. Ann RinehartNovember 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    I believe there can never be enough focus on peace, and how to build peace. So few of us know what has shown to work in peace-building, and that there are options to aggression when in a conflict.

  7. M.HaliburtonNovember 26, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    The red poppy ought to mean mourning for those who died, but it has acquired a “support-our-troops” war-endorsing political connotation. I remember a sound byte aired on the radio from a woman accusing those who laid the white poppy wreath as being political and complaining that was inappropriate. But isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

    Those WWI soldiers whose graves are lined up in great fields in Europe believed they were in the war to end all wars. In “No Man’s Land” (his lament for a young soldier Willie McBride), songwriter Eric Bogle sings:
    But here in this graveyard it’s still No Man’s Land
    The countless white crosses in mute witness stand
    To man’s blind indifference to his fellow man.
    And a whole generation who were butchered and damned.

    The song concludes:
    Did you really believe that this war would end wars?
    Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
    The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
    For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
    And again, and again, and again, and again.

    It seems that if the commemoration of sacrifices made in war are to make any difference to the outcomes, then we should all wear both a red and a white poppy. Well, for as long as the latter can still signify the peace-with-justice that is supposed to result from all the fighting. But what remains from all the madness is a legacy of loss, resentment, hate, manipulations of policy based on who suffered worse, etc..

    We should be using all non-violent means possible to obtain justice based on equitable sharing of earth’s resources. That would require vigilance to identify and deal with the causes of war before the chain of destruction can be launched, a new level of engagement with issues by means of seeking truth and dialogue.

    There should be a “Department of Peace” in every nation with at least as much authority as a “department of war”.

  8. Alan BishoffNovember 19, 2010 at 12:09 am #

    My views on remembrance day have changed over the years. At one time I would not participate in any way. Then for a period of time I did want to recognize the submission of personal interests for a common good. Now I am less supportive. I think the changes have been caused in part by the change of focus on which veterans and also by my understanding of the various conflicts Canada has engaged in. My own personal veteran, my father, was drafted into the Canadian army during the 2nd ww. I thought if ever there was a just fight, that was it. When I asked him why he had not volunteered, he suggested that we were not under attack. He thought we shouldn’t go and fight somewhere else. I am not sure I accept that logic in that instance but it would certainly help us get a better grounding on our role in Afghanistan.

    One of my concerns at remembrance day ceremonies and every time a young Canadian soldier dies in Afghanistan is the universal reference to these young men making the decision to die in order to preserve our freedoms in Canada. I have never been a soldier, but I have been 18 and I have talked to young men who have joined the forces. I think there is no reason to believe that the young men who join the army are any more committed to democracy (there might in fact be good evidence to the contrary) than the young people who become tradesmen, school teachers or civil servants. We don’t go to war because the young men in the country demand that their government send them into war to defend democracy. We go to war because old men see their interest protected or advanced through military intervention with a competitor. They then spin their interest as the national interest and lead the media in building public support. For the young people who enroll (or are conscripted) the plus side is the adventure – “There’s no life like it!”

    If we really believed in what we claim to believe in we would have become engaged as a nation in Spain instead of leaving it to the pure volunteers who really believed in democracy; we would have become engaged in Chile to prevent the subversion of democracy; we would have entered the Iraq war to preserve the principle of national independence in the face of a foreign attack and to allow the United Nations process to complete. We don’t follow our principles as a nation. It is unrealistic to believe our youth are motivated to sacrifice their lives for those same principles.

    Remembrance day services obscure the reality of our involvement in war. Surely we can find a way to use the same energy to build opposition to war and press to end the social conditions that nurture war.

  9. Terrence McCubbinNovember 18, 2010 at 11:59 am #

    Hello: I agree that it’s time for Remembrance Day to focus on the general tragedy of war, with the end purpose of ending organized armed conflict. It’s myopic to mourn only our own war dead while ignoring the terrible sacrifices made among civilians and soldiers in other nations…tm

  10. janet walterNovember 17, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Wars never end with establishing who is right—–only who is left.

  11. Maggie PanterNovember 16, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    I am saddened to see the glorification of war.
    Remembrance Day should be time to remember “never again!”

  12. Jo Hayward-HainesNovember 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm #

    War is the failure of nations to successfully resolve conflicts. Its basis is historically greed-inspired mobilization to capitalize and dominate resources and secure cheap labour. Honoring the dead as part of the glorification of war is a way to justify this drive by capitalizing on the grief of families over the death of their children. So war is essentially exploitation on a large scale. Will increasingly scare resources and climate change create conditions for war or will nations recognize at last the need to share equitably, that is the question.

  13. evelyn voigtNovember 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    White Poppies, Not Red
    (“To remember is to work for peace”, Mennonite Central Committee)

    Slippery as guts, moon light pools with blood and mud;
    glances shards off bayonets;
    reveals survivors, half frozen in hell,
    fragmented by trench and wire and boarder;
    bound by stench and rot and fear.

    It’s Christmas, 1914

    And into night thin air
    a solitary German soldier’s voice, stunning in its sweetness,
    offers up “Silent Night, Holy Night”.

    Tear-drop moon reflects the whites of life-starved eyes
    as one and then another joins in song;
    as one and then another enters no man’s land;
    to staunch that gaping wound
    in baffled embrace;
    to exchange cigarettes and beer,
    memories of sweetheart, toddler, wife,
    longed for and longing,
    deep into moon milk night.

    At frigid break of red sun day,
    ordered back into their trenches,
    they hold each other once again,

    this time in their sites.

    ©evelyn voigt, Nov 11 2010

  14. Jennifer WadeNovember 15, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    I do often think about this and worry about the romanticizing and even glorifying of war. As one small example, do we need the entertainment of fly pasts of great expensive planes when perhaps a recording of planes flying, guns going off and terrible screaming would be far more realistic, more economical and less “entertaining”?
    Having lost three uncles and two cousins in WW11, Remembrance Day for me is one of the saddest days of the year, a day when there was always tears in my mother’s eyes and a silence in our home, but we must go beyond the personal memory of a past war.
    My wish would be that Remembrance Day could show the folly of all wars everywhere perhaps as depicted in Joan Littlewood’s play “Oh What a Lovely War”, but even more the day should make everyone think of the fanatics who bring about these wars while good people everywhere remain silent or even scoff at the fanatics in disbelief until it is too late. Until we recognize that fanatics order the world, words like peace celeration etc can have no meaning.

  15. Sophia KellyNovember 15, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    I agree that Remembrance day ought to be more about the promotion of peace than the glorification of war. We don’t respect the gifts that soldiers are giving if we waste their sacrifice on conflicts that could have been resolved diplomatically and peacefully. I have a friend who was in the military for many years (she was injured and is now a civilian). She joined because Canada was a peacekeeper, and she wanted to be part of that. When that changed, it was a shock to many, who hadn’t signed up for US style use of military resources.

    Asking people to kill or be killed is a very big deal. It should be done very sparingly and only for extremely good reason. Yes, liberating people from concentration camps is a very good reason, but protecting access to middle east oil is probably not good enough. Better we put that money, and energy into developing local, peaceful, sustainable resources like solar and wind and save lives at the same time.

  16. Jean BakerNovember 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Yes, I feel strongly that the November 11th commemorations should remain as they are. It is not a question of ignoring aspirations for peace, but rather to commemorate those who made the supreme sacrifice. I was a child in the U.K. when the second world war erupted, and saw first hand the effects on the country of death and destruction.
    Jean Baker

  17. deb byrnesNovember 15, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    Remembrance Day isn’t history anymore. Men, women, girls and boys are coming home broken every day. Maybe it’s not about peace, but compassion. I’m joining those calling for the government to protect the wounded, the sick, the hurt and their memories. Let’s have a Royal commission on Veteran’s Affairs and take this one step at a time. Yup, compassion first, then peace. There’s got to be a way out!

  18. MaryNovember 15, 2010 at 3:01 am #

    Ian Shaw – you say you support the troops but do not support the wars. I am honestly baffled how this can still be the case. I can understand supporting the veterans of WW2, but if you don’t support the current wars, how can you support the people who volunteer for them and say they love being there? Some soldiers even talk of how much they love using the weaponry. I know this is a minority opinion – but shouldn’t we be questioning this blind “support our troops” mantra? There seems to be a serious disconnect here. These people are not drafted – they are volunteers. And Harper used this support of the troops to perpetuate militarism. Notice how he used Remembrance Day to extend the Afghan mission. Why are we still supporting the troops. I think we need to have the courage to say – NOT ANY MORE!

  19. carlNovember 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    I am concerned that Remembrance Day is turning into a vehicle to promote war. At my high school, students were forced to attend a ceremony that was extremely heartfelt and respectful of those who were forced to fight in the past, (at the beginning), and then degenerated into a perverse sort of “soft-sell recruitment” of new soldiers to fight the evil Taliban. I am feeling very uncomfortable with this.

  20. Len CissellNovember 14, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    Let us have more about peace.War certainly is not to be glamourized. I had two brothers and many cousins in WW 2 and I feel certain they would agree with me.


  21. StefanieNovember 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    Most veterans of military conflict return with the view that wars do not solve problems but cause excessive grief and suffering for all touched by the experience.

    Each Remembrance Day I think of the innocent civilians injured and killed, the children scarred for life, the soldiers and their families scarred for life, the terrible waste of young human lives, the terrible waste of resources, the loss of cultural and historical sites and artifacts, the chaos, and the evil enrichment of certain individuals and corporations who swoop down to gorge themselves like carrion-crazed vultures on the blood of the innocent and vulnerable around the globe.

    It is time for a civilized world to stop using violence to resolve problems and to stop using the excuse of war to boost economies built on a rotten foundation of the military-industrial complex. It is time for peace.

  22. Irene WintersingerNovember 14, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

    I think the article by Peter Smollett of the Toronto Star on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 entitled: War resisters also deserve a memorial, speaks volumes and expresses my idea perfectly. Definitely, too much emphasis is put on war and nothing is said about preventing or avoiding war. This ugly business provides too much income to the war machinery providers. Until human greed is stemmed, there is little hope for real,lasting world peace, I regret to say.
    The men and women who gave their lives should definitely be remembered, on both sides of conflicts, but also the millions of civilians whose lives were obliterated without having a chance to defend themselves – “collateral damage”, I suppose. We must also remember all those men and women who fought, in whatever capacity, returned home and then had/have to reintegrate themselves into civilian life with all the baggage that comes when you see and experience the most inhumane behaviour and suffering, especially those men and women who were injured physically, mentally or emotionally. They need more than mere remembrance, they need our support and help.

  23. duncan etchesNovember 14, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    It is a commemoration of war but can be used as an opportunity to talk of ending war, of peace. Some have promoted the idea of a white poppy that focuses less on the blood of war and more on the dove of peace.

  24. Ian ShawNovember 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    I agree that the mistakes of the past have to be remembered in order to not repeat them in the future. However, the way we choose to remember them in the mass media is deeply flawed. Disturbing is the lack of emphasis on the tragedy of war, the brutality, the mental and physical scarring, and the deeply unjust entrenched class divisions that play into who makes the ‘ultimate sacrifice’, especially now with our ‘professional armies’ (we should call it conscription of the poor). We frame the actions of our servicemen and women as honorable and just, give them privileged status in society for their valiant service to their country, and overlook the reasons for the wars; undercurrents that run deep in a society with a supposed 30 second attention span. I do not believe we live in this society; I believe it is in the best interests of our ruling class to frame the debates without historical context, and by overlooking this context, we justify our unjust wars.

    I support the troops. I do not support the wars.

  25. RosemarieNovember 14, 2010 at 5:17 pm #

    The words “Remembrance Day” is noted in the dictionary as “11 Nov. the anniversary of the armistice at the end of the First World War, on which the war dead are commemorated”. We must still honour those who have sacrificed their lives and to recognize why they did enlist. Remembrance Day gives us the opportunity to thank those who have gone before and to remind us that we must do more for peace in the world and that war is not the answer. In 1981 the UN created and established Sept. 21 the International Day of Peace. Its symbol is a dove holding an olive branch. Let’s use that day as one on which we should stress peace in the world and leave November 11th as what it is meant for.

  26. Maggie McBrideNovember 14, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    My problem with remembrance day is that we are still fighting. My grandfather fought for peace almost 100 years ago, why are we still fighting for it. I feel like that this continual fighting and war-state is the last thing our ancestors would have wanted, they fought so we wouldn’t have to. If we were actually honoring their memory on remembrance day, every year, we would take a serious look at our strategic plans and our troops and question if their presence and actions were absolutely necessary. That would be honoring our veterans, not living in an ongiong battlefront.

  27. Claire TremblayNovember 14, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    Rememberance day is not to forget the multiple and profound traumas and to war no more.

  28. Martha Froese-KooijengaNovember 14, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    Dear Steven,
    Thanks so much for getting this out there. It is disturbing to me, the way war seems glorified at remembrance day services. I think we no longer gather to say “we remember, and we vow never to repeat the horrors.” (when in fact we are repeating the horrors…we are fighting and killing in Afghanistan). It really bothers me.
    I wish remembrance day services were again a vow “never again, and now we must have peace and no more weapons industries and governments promoting war”
    Thanks again for your email. Please get this out in the media more.
    Martha Froese-Kooijenga
    Saskatoon, Sask.

  29. Al TaylorNovember 14, 2010 at 12:10 am #

    Remembrance Day is a celebration of war. And full of propaganda speeches about “fighting for our freedom”. The only war Canada fought for Canadian freedom (from the USA) was the war of 1812, and we were still a British colony.. Every other war we’ve fought in has taken freedom away. The Boer War gave Britian the freedom to exploit South Africa while it took away freedom from the Africans. The first world war was a European war where Canada fought for Britian, again, while Canada incarcerated, and took away the freedom of large numbers of Ukranian people living in Canada. After fighting for freedom in Europe the returning soldiers had their freedom taken away from them in the Winnipeg Strike and later hundreds of workers had their freedom taken away in the so-called Regina Riot and the Estevan strike. Again, in WW2, while Canadians were fighting for freedom in Europe, Canada took away the property and the freedom of hundreds of Japanese Canadians.
    Canada took freedom away from our Aboriginal people almost from the beginning of colonization. Even after aboriginal service men returned from fighting for Canada they could not leave their reserves without permission of the Indian Agent. And we forced the horrers of Residental Schools on thousands of AAboriginal children. Who could be more Canadian than firt nations peoples? Yet we still hear that we enjoy our freedom because of the wars we fought in. Canada also resricted the freedom of Chinese Canadians and Chinese Immigrants up to recent times. Yes Canadians fought. Yes Canadians were killed in wars. But Canadians have not fought a war for the freedoms we enjoy. We enjoy our freedoms because many Canadian citizens and workers of every class took political action and had laws made that guarantee our freedoms. We enjoy our freedoms not because we fought in wars but in spite of the wars we fought in.

  30. Benno BargNovember 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    Remembrance day is a wonderful opportunity to promote peaceful relations with other countries. We must encourage our politicians to work for peace. War does not solve anything and should not be glorified. Let us pray for peace and stop paying for war. Enough blood has been shed and to what end?
    The killing continues. LET’S PUT A STOP TO IT.

  31. Donald DonaldsonNovember 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    For the very first time I did not wear a Poppy. It bothers me greatly that Canada WAS the Leader in UN Peace Keeping. We MUST RETURN to this role in the world. I am ashamed/perplexed/annoyed at our Present Government which has made us JUST like the AMERICANS FORCES which are disliked pretty well World Wide for their interference into the lives of other nations for very devious reasons. Furthermore, Our PM has been treating our wounded personnel VERY VERY DISGRACEFULLY. Also, when the Elected Leaders and/or their Family Members join the Armed Forces I may change my prospective about conflicts. When our Canadian Citizens DEMAND the Forces become Peace Keepers again, I will VERY PROUDLY wear a Poppy again.

  32. Sheila PatersonNovember 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Remembrance day has become remembrance week, plus. Television and radio is devoted completely to war stories and war footage. The history of the causes of war is totally ignored. War itself has become the focus of awe–not awfulness.

  33. Sandra StreifelNovember 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    I won’t wear a red poppy anymore, not even to my new church, where there are a few members old enough to be WWII veterans. I don’t think Remembrance Day is a Christian holiday. Since my mother is dead, and all the WWII, or Great War veterans in my family I knew, or never had the chance to meet are gone, I am not going to let Remembrance Day use their memory to advertise this war.

    The armistice it originally commemorated was thought to bring an end to “The War to End All Wars” because of the horrorifying nature and enormous scale of modern warfare, compared to former skirmishes between nations on battlefields. Instead, poppies commemorate our nation’s “birth” at Vimy Ridge; a beautiful poem written by an officer sickened by the surgery he could do that was useless. The poem nevertheless urged “take up arms against the foe…keep faith with us who died”–the author was unable to take up arms against the influenza pandemic which killed him and countless others across the globe regardless of their gentlemanly honour or working class trench duty.

  34. Elizabeth BealeNovember 13, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    I appreciate the school classrooms that focus on peace for Remembrance Day projects. And churches that pray for peace, along with honouring those who have died.

    When I asked why my poppy this year had a black centre, the volunteer said it was because we are now at war. (My research shows she may have been mistaken.) I wondered if she saw the black centre as a lament, or a chance to call for more patriotism, more support for the “war”. I don’t believe our military presence in Afghanistan is part of a war, but rather political support for US military mistakes.

    I believe peace is possible. It is hard work, personally and as a society. I appreciate the work of Ceasefire.

  35. Blaine CameronNovember 13, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that more and more war is glorified. I didn’t listent to the ceremony this year, normally I do, but I didn’t hear in any of the news pieces any mention of avoiding conflicts or finding peaceful solutions.

    With our record spending on the defence budget this year it seems we are starting to take on the US model, poor deplomacy and social policies that are becoming regressive. Aggression, ignorance and spin seems to be the new Canada and some are eating it up!

  36. Rita PollockNovember 13, 2010 at 2:42 am #

    I attend the Legion ceremonies in Coquitlam and the emphasis has always been on peace and remembering so we don’t repeat the past. However, I wouldn’t say that there aren’t some who glorify war and our time in Afghanistan.

  37. MaryNovember 13, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    For those of you interested in the white poppies for next year, here’s the link

  38. bruce jacksonNovember 12, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    I find the promotion is often a convuluted way to stir the passions of revenge and to validate our belief in our own self – righteousness when it comes to war. Everyone who can read this should look up Mark Twains “War Prayer” and consider what is it that we are really praying for. My father and his veteran friends all reminded me that when asked about war thier responses to WW2 were similar. “War is evil. There are better ways to engage your enemies.”

  39. Maria HeynenNovember 12, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    The civilian casualties in our present wars are so enormously high that I cannot see justification for any war.
    President Eisenhower warned us against the ‘military industrial complex’ , and i believe that more than ever we should heed his words.
    And yes, as mentioned, our interest in oil makes the whole picture even more complicated.

  40. jeannie KaminsNovember 12, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    I hate remembrance day. I hate war.

  41. Ann GibsonNovember 12, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    I am 77 years old;I do not now nor have I ever endorsed War as a solution. As a child I watched young men go off to “serve” in WW2. I didnt understand why then and I still dont understand how that war was allowed to happen. You say “The only way to prevent these wars is to educate the young about the past so they will not allow this to happen again”. I could not agree more.
    What I need to know is How Do You Plan To Get This Across to our young people without a game plan? Educating the young is certainly the starting point. But how to promote creative thinking when the economy goes belly-up, when one country invades another country, when one society wants what another society has or is perceived to have? Or whatever reason a country might have for taking up arms.
    As I say, I am 77 yrs old now and I have thought I have seen sanity beginning to rear its lovely head many times, only to watch it drown again in old thinking. And the truth is I dont know how to bridge that disconnect between education and the so-called real world.
    I go to the Remembrance Day ceremonies to REMEMBER and try to figure it all out.

  42. Helen ReadyNovember 12, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    For me, it’s a time to think about peace and how we’ll ever achieve it.

  43. John PendergrastNovember 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Remembrance Day glorifies war, there’s no question about it. All this talk about heroism and sacrifice is based on the assumption that Canada’s wars are both necessary and just. It’s possible that some are, I suppose, but it is equally possible that they are not. Remembrance Day invites us to avoid the hard questions that we ought to ask about war. It especially avoids confronting the very real possibility (I would say likelihood) that the soldiers who die are sacrificed by those in power either for nothing or for their own self-interest. And let’s not forget that soldiers are not sent to war to die, they are sent to kill — that is what the guns are for.

  44. GlennisNovember 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm #


  45. Aileen TaylerNovember 12, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    I too find that too much of Remembrance Day is focus on the glory/bravery and not enough on the horror that war is. I wonder how many soldiers signed up for combat because the economy was so bad that it was the only way they had to support themselves or their dependants. Lots probably craved the adventure that was portrayed in movies and gov’t propaganda, unaware of what the reality would be.
    Too often, wars are waged in order to make money for corporations, to the detriment of the people whose country is being torn apart in the name of democratic values. Did anyone notice that Rona Ambrose’s Nov. 11/10 letter to the Edmonton Journal mentioned prosperity as the third thing that soldiers were dying for(“peace, freedom and prosperity”)? I fear that prosperity for the corporate elites is the prime reason in many cases. Sons of the rich and powerful are not the first to sign up. And where do the gov’t locate their recruiting centres? In poor neighbourhoods.

  46. Murray LumleyNovember 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    I wrote the following as a comment to the article in NOW Weekly – Nov. 11, ‘Going to war over Poppies’, by Susan G. Cole

    I actually think the time around Remembrance Day is a suitable time to have the debate about whether Canadians are being encouraged to remember or are at the same time being sold a bill of goods about war and how glorious it is. A quote in another paper today says, “Soldiers paid the price to build Canada’s reputation on world stage’ premier said. I personally find it offensive that a ‘premier’ thinks it was worth the loss of lives and destruction of families just so Canada could be a world power. The promoters of war in our society have used this kind of language for some time now, especially since the Harper Conservatives have been in power. Another thing; the Canadian Legion has as its motto, ‘Never Again’. If we as a society really believe ‘Never Again’, then why are we allowing the present Canadian government to purchase $multibillion F-35 war planes whose main purpose according to Defence Minister Peter MacKay is to attract young Canadians to want to become fighter pilots. World spending of $1 trillion per year (Canada’s is about $20 billion/year) on armaments and war preparations shows the hypocrisy of ‘Never Again’. Even General and President Eisenhower disagreed with this spending – pointing out that military spending was a ‘theft from the poor’. I agree with the quote in Susan Cole’s article, “Remembrance Day was never intended to glorify war,…, “but to recall the truth about war’s devastation.” I wore a white Poppy along with a red one that I bought from a Legion person, to remember my father who served in WWII and to remember to work for peace so that all wars can end.

  47. Gord DoctorowNovember 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    Remembrance Day has been turned into a boost for the war policies of the U.S., unquestioningly supported by successive Liberal and Conservative governments. The veteran’s group that sells the poppies is lock-step with this. They oppose the white poppies, which are symbols of peace that go back seven or more decades. In terms of honouring veterans, noticeably ignored are the volunteers who went off to fight the fascists in Spain in the 1930s — the MacKenzie-Papineau brigade. They weren’t drafted into any army; they fought for democracy before Canada and the U.S. went to war against fascism and Naziism. Yet these brave soldiers were never acknowledged as veterans or provided with pensions or health care benefits. They were the ones who fought alongside Norman Bethune. Also, noticeably absent from the remembrances are the women who were part of the war effort–as medical personnel, for example. There is no recognition of the sacrifices made by civilians either. Remembrance Day encourages us to forget about these people. It’s a pity and a bit of a sham.

  48. Barb ToewsNovember 12, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    We need to remember, but we need to accompany that remembrance with a determination to work for peace. I would love to see a Ministry of Peace as part of our Canadian Government.

  49. Mireille CoralNovember 12, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    I always understood the point of Remembrance Day to be remembrance of the horror of war so that it will never happen again. The glorification of the military that has been taking place lately is not only profoundly sad in the context of Remembrance Day, but also somewhat frightening. We’re supposed to be avoiding war,not gearing up to repeat it.

  50. David J. ParkerNovember 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    Only very rarely do we hear comments citing the futility of war.
    It is anathema to suggest that former wars were futile and a waste of young lives – too humiliating perhaps?
    However, it is very apparent in the most recent (illegal) war in Iraq.
    Was there ever a bigger blunder, humiliation, miscalculation?
    The ringleaders of this crime against humanity remain at large and even respected, Bush is making the public speaking circuit and Blair is an elder statesman at the UN.
    Why do we allow them to get away with it?

  51. JillNovember 12, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    I regret that the remembrance activities have been hijacked wholesale by the Anglican church. The memorializing has become a religious service where if you want to pay honour to the fallen, you have to sing hymns and say prayers to their god – and the two acts are not connected. I feel a deep gratitude to the fallen and would like to be able to express it in a more secularly reverential way.

  52. timNovember 12, 2010 at 2:44 pm #

    My view is that remembrance day is a collective event that commemorates war and militarism rather than promoting a deep conception of peace that is mutually exclusive from war, violence and militarism. I think this is not a new problem, which is why women and peace activists in the 1920s embraced the white poppy as a symbol of peace versus the red poppy which is tightly connected not just to honouring the sacrifice of vets–not necessarily civilians–but also functions to celebrate militarism. I think the distinction between honourable wars of the past and despicable wars of the present is an overdrawn distinction that isn’t correct or fair. Creating two classes of vets misses the point that remembrance day operates to commemorate war. And speaking this truth is taboo in Canadian society. But anyone concerned about the militaristic character of our society and state must have the courage of their convictions, in the here and now, to speak truth to power and open the conditions of possibility for ‘deep peace.’

    One of the great Canadians on this point is Ursula Franklin. A new generation needs see what this tradition of ‘peace ethics’ has to offer.

  53. Joan BellNovember 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    I believe that many of the wars, past and present, are mainly fought about having power over other countries’ resources. World War 1 was to be a war to end all wars; what fiction! As the victors claim the spoils of war and leave the defeated nation in tatters the grounds for another war are set in place ie World War 2. Meanwhile the benefactors of war, the armorment corporations, see their profits soar and can’t wait to see the nations locked in another conflict. The wars in Iraq and Afganistan, I believe, have been over the control of oil resources.
    United States has been building an oil pipeline across southern Afganistan’s Kandihar province, to secure safe shipment of oil from a neighboring country out to the sea. Canadians have lost many lives and many soldiers injured in trying to support this US war. We should be asking the question loud and clear: Why are we locked in this war?
    Remembrance Day should be about honouring our soldiers who have lost lives in a fight to attain basic rights for our earth’s people not the corporations trying to make profits from wars.

  54. johnNovember 12, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Having served in the military and attended parades and ceremonies at cenetaphs in different locations, I’ve felt the sadness for the loss of so many. They fought for king and country, and there was pride in the cause.
    In recent conflicts, Somalia, Kosovo, Afganistan it seems to me the cause and effect has somehow been more for the political (read corporate) gains, than as humanitarian effort. The puppet masters are sacrificing vast wealth, healthy young lives, and the gains are as illusive as oil in the sand. If the money spent on arms and resource wars, were spent on educating our young and not so young in the humanities, arts, and sciences,we could all make serious changes and take care of our people here at home.

  55. DaveNovember 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    “LEST WE FORGET”?? Those who gave their lives in the first and second world war were certainly forgotten in our city on the west coast of British Columbia. The display in our mall consisted of a single wreath with poppies, a sign that said “We will remember them, The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 164”, and another sign that said “Canadian Soldiers Who Lost Their Lives in Afghanistan”. Beneath that sign was the main part of the display, 152 individual framed portraits, each including a name, hometown, unit, date of death, and the incident that resulted in death. At the end of the portraits was a framed picture of a Canadian flag. There was nothing there to remind us of the horrors of the two world wars. There was nothing in the display to say “NEVER AGAIN!”.

    I was told that the names of soldiers from Powell River killed in World Wars 1 and 2 were read out at the ceremony at the cenotaph. But is that enough?

  56. LeannNovember 12, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Thanks for asking the question. I was beginning to think that I was the only person who felt this way.

    I don’t want to be disrespectful to the veterans, but I always felt that Remembrance Day was meant to serve as a reminder to the reasons we must diligently avoid war.

    I have been nervously watching over the past many years as that message seems to be lost.

    I don’t even like to sport a red poppy anymore because I worry that I’m sending the wrong message with it. Give me a poppy that proclaims “Let’s work toward ending war” and I’ll wear five!

  57. Lawlor Wm. LeeNovember 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    I don’t find the ceremonies of Remembrance Day a commemoration so much of war, though the overwhelming sentimentality of the ceremonies and their coverage represents a fetishism of all things military and certainly not a anything about peace. And perhaps it is a fool’s errand to try to marry the two issues. Remembrance Day has come to be part of the effort on the part of our government and other interest groups to promote the military and military values (unconditional loyalty, hierarchy, violence as a primary means to solve problems) as the major institution in this country. This is dangerous for a number of reasons but two are paramount. First, it can lead to a sense in the population that might is indeed right. Second, values like unconditional loyalty and hierarchy are not congenial to a democratic society. Third it can blind us to the real part played by civil society groups in building the level of social justice that we have attained. We often hear that “soldiers have served and died so that we can live in peace and posses our civil rights”. The fact is that very few of the wars our military has served in (an exception would min my view be WWII) had anything to do with the preservation of democracy or social justice. WWI was about preserving the British Empire against that of Germany’s for example. This is not to demean the patriotic intentions of our soldiers but we do have to remember how much propaganda is involved in any conflict and its place in encouraging young men (mostly young men) to enlist. We also have to remember who are the predominant “enlisters”, individuals form less affluent or even marginalized communities. So the day of Remembrance, whatever its intent is a ritual full of pitfalls for any democratic society. Te folks who have been killed in war (they did not simply “fall”) deserve to be reespected and taken care of in their suffering but, to repeat, we should not make a fetish of the military in the process.

  58. Yvonne ThompsonNovember 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    There is no doubt that we need to be thankful for the sacrifices made both in the past and in the present, but we also need to believe and hope that all the efforts made in war will somehow lead to a more peaceful world. Afghanistan is a difficult conflict to decide on whether our presence is actually helping or hindering their development. For the sake of the NATO troops that have perished in trying to bring some kind of peace to the area and to quell the Taliban, I sincerely hope that it is helping. In the end, we will need to leave Afghanistan, and then we will really see how it has affected the region.

  59. Patrick M.November 12, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    I honour the memory of the dead
    not the madness that caused it

    I honour the bravery of the soldiers
    not the bravura of politicians

  60. Patricia PaveyNovember 12, 2010 at 11:35 am #


  61. Bob HearnsNovember 12, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    I have no opinion. However, as long as we continue to think the way we do, there will always be war. The thinking that would result in peace is fundamentally different from the way we think today.

  62. Roland RainvilleNovember 12, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    Armistice day (Nov. 11) should be to rememner and promote peace

  63. S. EnnsNovember 12, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    I have had a hard time with this question, although I ask it of myself every year.
    Having grown up in Canada, which has never been attacked during my lifetime, I don’t know first-hand about war and fighting. But I do know that I am a pacifist. Maybe that is a luxury, but in Canada, we all have the choice to join the military or not.
    So, I choose to promote peace, rather than glorify fighting/war. My answer is “yes, Rememberance day glorifies fighting and those who choose violence as a solution.”
    I cannot accept that Canada’s soldiers are ‘fighting for freedom’, because I believe, as Ghandi did, that non-violence is a better way to get freedom.

    Protect us with peace, please.

  64. RubyNovember 12, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    It takes a brave person to ask this question but yes I do think it is too much about fighing and not enough about the waste of life. The day has become almost a glorification of war and sacrifice and is not sufficiently about the promotion of peace. At this time of year we need to impress upon world leaders to never go there again. I appreciate the great sacrifices made by the forces but world leaders must be made to see they are responsible for this great loss of life. They can stop wars. They can mediate, negotiate and avoid wars forever. This could be a time for demonstations for peace. All the attention being paid to putting flowers on graves needs to be balanced by silent, walking for peace. I’m not talking about riots and police but a quiet, serene outpouring of grief by all people who truly believe in peace – we need to come out and show we will not accept the status quo – we will not allow leaders to duck their responsibilities and send young people off to fight wars that can be avooided through more compassionate, tolerant r and fair leadership.

  65. Paul AndersonNovember 12, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    On remembrance day
    An element of emphasis that I think could be shifted within the Remembrance Day tradition is to attend to the victims of war in ways that fully include soldiers and their loved ones within a much fuller sense of the devastation of whole communities wrought by war.

    The all but exclusive emphasis on the damage to those closest to the ones doing the killing–be it in aggression or in heroic, communal defence against other killers–seems strange. That war forces decent people into killing other decent people, many of them defenceless men, women, children, elders (and into the intentionally shocking and awful devastation of their cities environments) seems to be something that our current approach leaves to veterans to deal with on their alone, in private, guilt-wracked suffering and trauma.

    As stirring as the post-WWI dictum “never again” is, it has since happened again and again, keeps happening, and is happening now.

    What we seem to be at risk of losing sight of is that “our” soldiers’ losses are measurable in the dozens and can (if only barely) be borne ceremoniously, whereas “their” numbers–of dead, displaced and traumatized civilians–number in the millions. Now, today, and on our newscasts tomorrow morning, in their beds, in their streets, in “our” prisons and torture camps, in lands devastated and irradiated by the most awful and appalling munitions.

  66. Jan GriffithsNovember 12, 2010 at 10:47 am #


  67. L. EnrightNovember 12, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    Are we to remember on Remembrance Day that those who fought the War to end all wars have fought in vain because we the living have not honoured their gift ?
    Remembrance Day can only be celebrated with honour if we can show that we are not sending our troops into unnecessary politicized wars.

  68. lucille & henryNovember 12, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    Too much is said about war but not enough about peace.
    Where, in the world has war brought about lasting peace?

  69. Mike AntoniadesNovember 12, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Without remembering the horrors of war we are bound to suffer them again. Without realizing the futility of war as a means of solving problems we will keep accepting the politicians’ word. We need to remember however those who gave their lives in the firm belief that it was for the sake of their countries.

    I am a bit ambivalent about modern armies. Soldiers are professionals who know what they are getting into and the risks involved. Do we need to adulate them as much? Do we need to worship them and forgive whatever atrocities are committed in doing what they chose to do? Does this not contribute in perpetuating the culture of war? After all wars will stop happening when soldiers refuse to fight.

  70. Lucie LerbeauNovember 12, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    I beleive we should refer to PEACE a lot more, promoting PEACE in every way possible and doing all we can personnally and nationnally to live in Peace within ourselves and with all others, as well as to help other countries to realize the same.

  71. PaulineNovember 12, 2010 at 9:55 am #

    I just wish we would stop repeating the horrors !

    God Bless all those who fought and died for peace.

  72. Wally BrookerNovember 12, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    I believe that Remembrance Day is biased towards justifying all conflicts that Canadians are involved in, including illegal imperialist adventures on the coattails of a rogue superpower. For that reason I do not wear poppies, but if I pass by a veteran selling them I will make a contribution because its supports veterans in need. I would like to see a higher profile for initiatives like the Department of Peace campaign. For more info please visit:

  73. Michel DuquetNovember 12, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    I hate all of the propaganda surrounding Remembrance Day. Canadian governments, especially this one, take the opportunity to cloack their pro-war message during this period.
    I would have worn a white poppy if I could have found one if only to illustrate that some of us can see beyond the fanfare.
    Thanks for giving me a chance to express my dissilusionnment with the old thing.

  74. David Bazett-JonesNovember 12, 2010 at 6:22 am #

    It is not a change for the better. Remembrance Day is now a holiday to celebrate our misguided belief that our current wars, i.e. Afghanistan (where next) are for the betterment of civlization. I do no wear a poppy.

  75. MaryNovember 12, 2010 at 4:46 am #

    So many heartening comments on this list. Thank you all – I feel less alone.

    Can we all now find the courage to say publicly, the words ” I DO NOT SUPPORT THE TROOPS”.

    Until we can say this – I don’t think we’ll make any progress. The white poppy has started the debate – let’s keep the flame alive.

  76. Mary WalkerNovember 12, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    We had a tremendous turnout of people in our city park today. People honouring Remembrance Day. I think there is far more reminders of war now then there was in the past. Each time a soldier returns from Afganistan in a coffin it is publicized in the media. I think many people thought when our soldiers originally went to Afganistan it was in a Peace Keeper roll. The realization that our soldiers are fighting and dying has truly upset many people.
    We need to educate people on the history of war and why war takes place in our world. Keep November 11 as a day of remembering and educating.

    Each year I participate in the Walk For Peace in our community. This day should also be observed as a national Holiday. If we talk about war and educate people on the history of it, so should we educate people on how important it is to work towards Peace. World Peace has to come about, in order for our planet to survive. There is definitly a lack of support for the Peace movement by the government, media and education system. We are percieved as a bunch of wacky Hippies carrying Peace signs. Each of us has to take the responsibility of bringing about Peace. Lobby the Federal and Provincial governments to pass a bill in Parliament for a national Day of Peace.
    Think Peace, Speak Peace, Educate Peace.

  77. Ruth NicolNovember 12, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    I remember as a child feeling joyfully triumphant when my parents talked about the Japanese surrender. Yet my Uncle George was in Hiroshima with the American special forces, one month after the bomb. At home he found himself reliving the aftermath of the atomic experiment, again seeing the blinded faces, the fatally burnt and deformed human bodies, the melted children burnt into walls and pavements. I sometimes had to help his son and daughter hold him down until it was over.
    And that is what I think of each and every Remembrance Day.

    War is an obscenity.

  78. Ruth NicolNovember 12, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    I remember as a child feeling joyfully triumphant when my parents talked about the Japanese surrender. Yet my Uncle George was in Hiroshima with the American special forces, one month after the bomb. At home he found himself reliving the aftermath of the atomic experiment, again seeing the blinded faces, the fatally burnt and deformed human bodies, the melted children burnt into walls and pavements. I sometimes had to help his son and daughter hold him down until it was over.
    And that is what I think of each and every Remembrance Day.

    War is an obscenity.

  79. FlorenceNovember 12, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    Many of the comments express sentiments that I have felt for years but never shared beyond our own walls. For decades I have not participated in Remembrance Day ceremonies and I no longer watch TV coverage of those events. Their messages are at best mixed, and at worst, vehicles that glorify and justify the madness of war.

    I feel great sadness that for centuries—millenia—, young men (and now women) have been recruited, often against their human instinct and free will, to be sacrificed for a cause that is portrayed as noble and just; i.e., freedom or democracy. Sadly, it is usually through retrospect and history that we identify the real motives for aggression and war.

    Through fear and propoganda; governments, media and frequently religious groups support the agenda of the defence industry. The massive munitions/war machines must find new markets for their increasingly-efficient tools of death and destruction. Old inventory is diverted to nations where internal strife (often cultivated by foreign interests) and exploitation of resources ensure a lucrative secondary market. Sophisticated war instruments are now shifting carnage from armed military personnel to civilians—the new cannon fodder.

    Dirk Becker’s earlier post of the chronology of U.S. imperialism is most instructive. The recent statement by a U.S. representative to justify possible military suppression of Iran should be worrisome for all who strive for peace. Is this a thinly-veiled strategy to avoid the unemployment, social unrest and munitions glut that would result from U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq? (It’s the economy, stupid.) And what industry is the primary beneficiary of this succession of wars?

    Remembrance Day connotes a sad, passive, reflective observance of man’s inhumanity to man. War continues unabated. “Peace Day” might better endorse active, constructive initiatives to approaching the world’s problems.

    Thank you for inviting this discussion.

  80. Karl ScholzeNovember 12, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    There will always be wars as long as our rulers (political and economic) decide that there is some advantage to be gained. Most people do not want wars and they do not need to be reminded of the past wars to persuade them. They already understand the horrors of wars, especially if it happened in their own country.

  81. Lisa SchwabeNovember 12, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    I left a comment already

  82. Lisa SchwabeNovember 12, 2010 at 1:18 am #

    What are we really supposed to remember ?
    I have come to the conclusion, that it is time to give this idee a new meaning
    Originally Remembrance Day was started to honor the soldiers that fought and died during WW/one and WW/two. But over the years more wars were added. .
    That makes me sad and I do not support or like it one ioda.
    Because it now appears that we love wars and just add more wars on the list of REMEMBRANCE.

    The time has come for meditation and discussion about the future of this world.
    It has only limited resources in every field of life and survival.
    Are we going to fight about this or are we going to have peace.
    PEACE in the world would solve and heal so many things.

    I pray and hope that those misinformed politicians will finally wake up and talk PEACE and not WAR !
    Yhat includes particularly the Oligarchy.


  83. Cathleen HjalmarsonNovember 12, 2010 at 12:55 am #

    Remembrance Day means two things to me. First, the incredible sacrifice soldiers make. Second, we must do everything in our power to avoid having to make such a sacrifice.

  84. Reynold ReimerNovember 12, 2010 at 12:53 am #

    I’d say Remembrance Day has certainly changed in my lifetime. When I was a schoolboy in a Mennonite town we were told that Remembrance Day was about striving for peace. Now it seems to be more about glorification of war. This year I received what appears to be the email version of a chain letter that consists of poems that liken soldiers to God, pictures of soldiers with American, British, and Canadian flags, and the words,
    “It’s the Military, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the
    Press. It’s the Military, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of
    Speech. It’s the Military, not the politicians that ensures our right to
    Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It’s the Military who salutes
    The flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by
    The flag.

    If you care to offer the smallest token of recognition and appreciation for
    The Military, please pass this on and pray for our men and women who have
    Served and are currently serving our country and pray for those who
    Have given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.”

    This sounds to me like American facist propaganda. These are the words of someone attempting to justify, nay glorify, war. These are the words of people that have not read the great poem Dulce Et Decorum Est. I am reminded an interview with John LeCarre that I heard on KPFA. He was asked what he would ask Tony Blaire if he were to interview him. He said, (I apologize if my memory of his words is imperfect) “I’d ask ‘do you know what you are doing when you order shock and awe, have you seen what happens when a grenade explodes in an classroom, have you knelt beside a dieing soldier and explained what he is dieing for?’

  85. Rick CollierNovember 12, 2010 at 12:51 am #

    Remembrance Day is another example of a well-intentioned holiday/memorial being hijacked by the ruling class of the day for its own purposes, in this case to celebrate and enshrine war as a noble effort rather than the slaughter of innocents (which it always is). Originally, for example, Mother’s Day was Mother’s Day for Peace; but over time it was expropriate and colonized by the business class who wanted to sell things like presents, flowers, candy, and the like, and while doing so allow the veil of forgetfulness descend over what that day was really supposed to be.

    The same is happening with Remembrance Day: rather than consecrating our nation and our people to peace and to eschewing war as much as possible, it has become a celebration of heroism, sacrifice, and courage forged in battle, all of these concepts part of the blood and honour creeds of the war-makers themselves.

    This bifurcation of what is and what ought to be is captured by Jason Kenny today proclaiming that the red poppy — the one that celebrates our failure to make peace — is the only true poppy; the white poppy, symbolizing harmony and peace, is seen, according to the minister as propaganda.

    Although I appreciate the sacrifices our Canadian soldiers have made in the past and are making now, I attribute that sacrifice largely to ignorance of the real issues; if these veterans had known what the wars they fought in were truly about, they would have become draft dodgers.

  86. gabriellaNovember 12, 2010 at 12:49 am #

    It is a good thing to show respect and honor for those loved ones who have died, but I’ve always thought the main focus of Remembrance Day was more about war than peace and it has done nothing to stop or put an end to wars. Wars have been happening since the two ” Big ” wars…..nothing has ended.

  87. Christine IlottNovember 12, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    My concern isn’t just with Remembrance Day but with all the memorials – Remembrance Day, various cenotaphs, the Highway of Heroes etc. I’m concerned that we have too many memorials to too many wars. I’m all for remembering our vets, but at what point are glorifying war rather than remembering?

  88. Mary NoklebyNovember 12, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    My understanding of Rememberance Day is that we pause to remember the soldiers who died in two past world wars, and commit ourselves to solutions other than the sledgehammer of military conflict.

    However, when I think of our soldiers in Afghanistan, the situation is totally different. I do not want to forget those deaths either, but nor do I want to lump them in with the dead of two world wars.

    I don’t think we should be there………I don’t think our freedoms are threatened by that country…they certainly haven’t been protected by the underhanded way the two present conflicts (Afghanistan and Iraq) are being conducted. I also want to remember Canadian citizens of middle eastern origin who have had their freedoms trifled with due to a paranoia originating south of our border…. Does the name Abousifian Abdelrazik have any connection to this day of “rememberance”? For most patriotic Canadians, I think not…but they should check it out if they love peace and hate war.

    The current glorification of the military in Canada is not something I want my grandchildren to remember with any kind of false sentimentality or puffed up patriotism.

    We have a sticker on our Prias which reads “I’M ALREADY AGAINST THE NEXT WAR” Rememberance Day should never be a justification for glorifying the organized violence of war. Supporting our troops should mean getting them out of unjust and unwinnable meddling in the affairs of societies we have little to no connection with.

    One parting thought. The idea that Canadians may need to stay longer in Afghanistan to teach a nation that has never in living history been conquered by foreign troops how to fight and defend their homeland is a concept so ludicrous that it makes me want to suggest a little reading of history in lieu of this “Rememberance Day” sentimentality.

    War, what is it good for? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

  89. SenseOfPlaceNovember 12, 2010 at 12:19 am #

    At first Nov 11 was to commemorate the armistice of 1918, though the overwhelming feeling of the time must have been grief. Throughout most of its history, though, I believe Remembrance Day has been a day to remember the war dead, mostly Canadian military war dead.

    In recent years, support for veterans and the military has crept into the theme of the day, with not a little nostalgia. In some measure some of these things are inevitable (i.e. nostalgia). However, I resent the way the day has become what most people would pretty well have to admit is support for the military, if not militarism.

    That is not fair, and it denies a place for expression of grief for people who strongly disagree with war in general, or with Canadian foreign policy of the moment. I say this after having spent two decades in the Canadian Forces. As a serving military person I often appreciated the chance to gather with veterans on November 11 and perhaps find ways to support them. But the conversation in the country has become way to pro-military in very non-critical ways. The momentum has shifted, and we are becoming the kind of population that can be easily led to war.

    You used to hear veterans say, “Never again,” when they gathered together. You don’t hear that so much any more, and to me that means there has been a lot of forgetting, not remembering, and that is disturbing.

  90. Leanne SilvaNovember 12, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    I always wince every year when people speak at Remembrance Day services about how we owe our freedoms, democracy, etc. to those who fight in wars. This is just propaganda to me. I think those ideals are better served through peacekeeping efforts rather than through armed conflict.

  91. Ron WattsNovember 11, 2010 at 11:41 pm #

    In church services, Remembrance Day is celebrated with a strong emphasis on peace, and prayers for peace. However, I don’t think enough is said about the fact that war is man’s greatest evil. People of all faiths
    are taught that it is wrong to murder, but in time of war that is forgotten, and men are taught to kill. There should be a constant teaching on alternatives to war, and the means to procure them. If we do not do so, war is accepted as the only recourse when nations have strong disagreements.

  92. Johnny HansenNovember 11, 2010 at 11:14 pm #

    Love Is All There Is…..
    Stay Gold Always
    Love Johnny

  93. TeriNovember 11, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    I think Remembrance Day is EXACTLY as it should be. The veterans of the recent wars are defending the same values as those in times past. War is vile, on that we all agree but alarmist comments like this one potentially un-do the immense good that is done by remembering.

  94. Fred BraileyNovember 11, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    See NFB docu.titled Remembrance Day: Children of soldiers. This reveals some of the very sad truth behind the war-is-glory propaganda. War was always hell, and it gets worse as the enormous costs of hi-tech warfare threaten to wreck our economies. Beside the loss of life and limb (and mental health) among military men and women, there is the inescapable traumatic fallout inflicted on their families. Further, there is the rising toll on innocent civilians caught in the crossfire (they are dying in far greater numbers than actual combatants). But the reverence for military traditions is deeply embedded in our entire imperialistic civilization. The chance of changing the status quo is about nil.

  95. johnNovember 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    Enphatically Remembrance Day MUST be about the need for peace.

    The sacrifices of those who died can only be insulted by the sentimentalized and trivial ‘Official’ ceremonies; with the subtle endorsement of war-fighting that the ‘powers that be’ invariably introduce.

    Many of the best Remembrance memorials are held in schools ……. where the creativity, optimism and deep sincerity of students and teachers can shine through, without the ‘Groupthink’ and regimentation imposed in ‘official’ or ‘quasi-official’ commemorations.

  96. RuthNovember 11, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    My family lost five men in WW1 – only three returned. The six that went to WW2 came home, though some were damaged. – Born just after that war, I have felt conflicted about both wars – angry that my family was so much reduced by war, yet proud of the courage of those people. As well, I’ve been keenly aware of German families even more decimated than mine – and that their men went off to war just as sure of the righteousness of their cause as my relatives were.
    Ever since 11 Sept 2001, I have felt alienated from the Remembrance Day services. The propaganda never ends: ‘support our troops’; ‘Our brave young men and women’; ‘they’re dying for our freedom’; ‘wear a yellow ribbon’; ‘they’re over there spreading democracy and human rights’ …
    The wisest comments on the war in Afghanistan have come from a new Canadian, a Russian who served there with the USSR in the ’80’s: he was told they were there to build schools for girls, to provide health care and education for the poor, to reduce poverty…
    We can’t force people to see the world through our eyes, any more than could the USSR. Bombs haven’t worked. War hasn’t ended war.
    I have no answers – but I do not trust the answers our leaders have been offering over the past century. We all need to ask more questions.

  97. ArthurNovember 11, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    Remember, yes, but what is it that one should remember; is it sufficient alone to remember my grandfather in WW1 and my father in WWII and the sons and daughters of the past and present? Do people remember the true reasons? What do those reasons look like?

    It seems that remembering today is purely driven from the point of view of sacrifice for our democratic sense of ourselves and has plenty of historization that weaves these thoughts together for a defined purpose of protecting our programmed pathological and egotistical worldview. Does one remember the geopolitical manipulations, the political and military complex pathologies behind wars fodder, the camps built to house slave-labor for wars corporate handlers who’s logos brand even our present? Do we remember the slaughtered innocent; pick a people, a time, or a country, or how exactly a madman like Hitler or hundreds of others like him came into being? Do we remember the warped justifications of wiping-out life in Gaza or do our eyes become opaque just as was done to them before by people who looked the otherway? Do we remember the jobs created in the fixation of wars economic boon for the few, the ideological and religious wedges used to foster the conditions and the flow of money that stimulates and engrosses the bellies of but more pathological types with not a neuron of empathy?

    War is a manipulated sickness and must die and be forgotten.

  98. John WarrenNovember 11, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    Remembrance Day began at the end of “The War to End All Wars” in 1919 but sadly there have been too many major wars since.

    I heard on the news today that this has been the largest Remembrance Day yet. It concerns me that this is an ideological effort to further militarize Canada as we have been watching TV ads extolling the adventures of joining up.

    I am hopeful though that, like the young taking environment and social awareness in primary education, Remembrance Day will be directed to positive action of finding the peaceful solutions that 1919 was supposed to achieve.

  99. Evan PotterNovember 11, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Too much about war,and the “glories” associated with war,and not enough about the foolishness of meddling in other countries’ affairs at the cost of the lives of those gullible enough to be led to such idiocies!

  100. JoanNovember 11, 2010 at 10:13 pm #

    Far too much time is being devoted to Remembrance Day by the CBC among other media. The entire day was spent on it today. In previous decades it was mentioned, maybe got half an hour’ attention, but not with the fawning, the heightened emotion that it receives today. One has to assume that this is created emotion to honour war, to build up in the public’s mind a false sentiment that war is to be glorified and will continue forever. Enough of that. The elderly men and a few women who were drawn into the belief that that was the best way to serve their country and did it willingly should be treated with deference and respect and should be financially supported, but that’s all, end of story, full stop… doesn’t need to be a maudlin festival every year. We don’t want to do war any more. It is more destructive than society can allow.

  101. John McLenahanNovember 11, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    What with the endless violence of everyday computer games,incessant and unabridged newscasts & telecasts etc.striving for our attention, the present day standard Remembrance Day Ceremonies with the proliferation of the older generation is, I would submit becoming more and more surreal to increasing numbers of those viewing them.

    An increasingly large portion of those in attendance have themselves never known or come close to experiencing the deprivation,hardship,or mass mayhem and degredation that comes of war and of course the children mostly only know war games where the heroes,villains,blood & gore are as close as the next game. They and their parents have little knowledge or feeling for the discipline that is required to effectively ‘take up the torch’ for the ’cause’, and while we as a society are truly favoured, we must do more to make these ceremonies more meaningful to the age groups attending! The parts of the ceremony must have meaning!–Therefor why not explain what the parts of the ceremony are and what they try to accomplish!

    The rationale for the various operations & activities have to (and could) be explained clearly and succinctly so as to make them less ‘strange’ and indeed more meaningful to those attending.(so ongoing revision is a definite part of more meaningful presentations)

    Then too, schools, who by the way have generally done yeoman service in this area, could be supported more by choices of prescribed activities thought to be of relative use to their individual cultures.

    submitted by
    John McLenahan retd.teacher&school administrator, witness to internment camps,conscientious objector camps and war operations during WWII

  102. Jule AsteriskNovember 11, 2010 at 9:59 pm #

    10 years ago I had to walk out of the room during my first Rememberance Day ceremony in my new home town. They were singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” and it seemed to me a perpetration of historic tragedies that this attitude could continue on today. Today’s ceremony was markedly different, including wishes for peaceful resolution of conflict from all the speechmakers,and bagpipes instead of hymns,
    I believe things are changing slowly, the new war in Afghanistan not withstanding. Many, if not most realize that this war is not at the same urgency or calibre for humanity as WWII. Since WWII, we have developed a high standard of peace keeping and conflict resolution has been growing exponentially. We do need to remember and mark the horrors of war, to see why we should not perpetrate this evil.
    It appears to me that many who are directly involved in the war MUST believe that they are fighting for the betterment and ‘freedom’ of that country. If not, how would they carry on day to day? If those who are over there keep ‘peacekeeping’ in their hearts, and Canada continues to work on civil engineering projects, we are evolving slowly past violence and on toward cooperation.
    At the height of the Roman Empire, soldiers spent just 10% of their time fighting and 90% of their time on engineering projects such as roads and aquaducts.

  103. John McConnellNovember 11, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    What have we learned from the great costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Nothing! We spend billions on unnecessary wars initiated by lying leaders and we are unwilling to stop the wars and instead expand — international diplomacy, – aid – development – and peaceful programs … for a fraction of the costs of lives and resources lost in stupid wars. When will citizens insist that their leaders be honest, tell the truth, stop wasting resources and work for Peaceful solutions to world problems.

  104. Terri RobsonNovember 11, 2010 at 9:44 pm #

    It would seem with the amount of wait times at the border crossings that a great deal of people just consider this a holliday to go shopping. My local Legion Cenotaph is near enough that I can stand in my back and take part, what I have been doing for a number of years is appologize to my Grandfather and all the others who have lost life and limb for no real apparent reason than for private enterprise commercial gain. And today as every year I salute the bi-plane that doe’s a fly over.

  105. AnonymousNovember 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm #

    With each passing year the Remembrance Day turns me off. It is nothing but glorification of war.

    Last night I watched the DVD “The End of America” based on Naomi Wolf’s Book by the same title. Her book was on the best sellers list of New York Times for months.

    It exposes the mendacity of the ruling class over the decades and how they manipulate conflicts to amass wealth.

    Whenever I think of WW I my thoughts go to the historical perfidy of the Western Powers.

    How they planted the seeds for WW II at the Versailles France by humiliating a defeated Germany.

    Not content with that the winners of this war proceeded to parcel out Arab Lands by carving artificial countries such as Israel, Jordan, Kuwait and Lebanon.

    Ever since the Middle East has not seen real peace.

    In Africa the Western Colonial Powers split countries to insure they will be fighting for decades to come.

    Divide and Conquer has been the religion of England France, Belgium and most of European powers.

    To day, we have Israel causing untold miseries to the native populations of the area. Armed to teeth and Nuclerised to bursting point, Israel is portrayed as the Victim instead of the oppressor, agressor and occupier.

    Billions of US tax dollars are pouring year after year into this outpost of Weston war machine.

    How on earth can one bring himself/herself to pay homage to those thousands who were fooled to believe they are fighting for their Country and King? In truth they were fighting for the rich greedy capitalist class who always need blood of innocent soldiers and civilians to enhance their wealth.

  106. SheelaghNovember 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    As the child of 2 veterans, married to another, and whose family lost loved ones in WW1, the need to remember is great.
    If we don’t remember the sacrifices, we cannot appreciate the freedoms we have.
    It is history that teaches us the way to the future.

    The veterans don’t want us to experience war, they want us to hear them and go on the road to peace.
    That’s the message they send when thy go out to speak to students and other groups,
    ‘We lived it, and hopefully you will never have to’ fight for peace.

  107. jim cowanNovember 11, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    I’d like to see a bit more attention paid to the many civilians killed and maimed in war.My father lost his life in the second world war and so I have obvious sympathy for military personnel who lose their lives. But there was little glory for my father going down with the ship and even less for the family left behind.
    Resorting to war is failure and millions continue to die as result of these failures.

  108. MaryNovember 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

    How comforting to read most of the posts on this list. I find Nov 11 one of the most depressing days of the year – because we seem to have learned nothing. I used to be in the military and my father was a POW in Burma – a horrendous situation from which he never recovered. I used to wear the red poppy (especially after a very moving visit to Ypres) but I can no longer, in good conscience wear one. It now is used to glorify war and militarism – which depresses me no end. It has almost become a cult – ie it takes courage to stand up against the “group think”.

    And isn’t it time we challenge the “support our troops” mantra. I do NOT support the invasion of Afghanistan – so why would I support those who voluntarily join up for this immoral adventure? How often do we hear at funerals of those killed in Afghanistan “He died doing what he loved”. Why are these people loving war? I have even read quotes from Canadian soldiers saying they were thrilled to try out new weapons. This is barbaric. As we all know, Canadians have been involved in atrocities there – and we have supported US atrocities related to the invasion of Iraq. Why are we saying we “support the troops”? Yes, some underprivileged youth are recruited from high schools – and as someone who was seduced into the military at the tender age of 18, I can sympathize. But I figured it out pretty quickly and got out. The sad thing is as long as we blindly support the military – we will have more wars because the weapons manufacturers want wars in order to make sales. And soldiers want more wars, so they can try the weapons out.

    Apparently more people than ever attended Remembrance Day parades today – and “support our brave men and women in Afghanistan” was the mantra. It is not about remembering WW1 and WW2 vets any more.

    I no longer wear a red poppy – I wear a white one, in memory of all the civilians who died in wars, and as a reminder of our failure to end war.

  109. Diana JewellNovember 11, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    Some excellent statements here about the hypocrisy of wars. I support the white poppy movement. Isn’t it ironic that those who speak out for and work for PEACE are considered subversive?!!! Think about it!

    Here is a statement from a ‘should be much more famous’ U.S. Marine Corps. hero, Major General Smedley Butler:

    Smedley Butler on Interventionism
    — Excerpt from a speech delivered in 1933, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC.

    “War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

    I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

    I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

    There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

    It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

    I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

    I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

    During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

    Just Google Smedley Butler for a wealth of information for those who truly want to end war to circulate.

    Diana Jewell

  110. PhilipNovember 11, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    War is bad, it shouldn’t happen. If attacked we should not fight back. Just give everything to those that want to take it. If Hitler wanted to do the holocaust I would have thought reasoning with him would have been sufficient to coax him to stop doing any of he the bad things he is accused of. The response of peace to the treat of genocide is what happened in Rwanda.

  111. Corinne WIlksNovember 11, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    The commemoration is meaningless at best. We should point to the horrific destructiveness of war; the human, cultural and material losses. We should not present the waging of war as a means of settling political or territorial disputes, nor revere the dead warriors who died ‘to defend our country.’ We should put all our efforts into teaching about peace and involve our children in thinking about and striving toward mutual cooperation and peace. The pursuit of free human development is a good goal and those who work toward bringing it about should be our heroes.

  112. Michael MurphyNovember 11, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    November 11th does give those who are concerned about peace an opportunity to deliver a peace message. In Saskatoon today, in addition to the official event at Sask Place, there was a powerful gathering at the Memorial Gates of the U of S. Representatives from the university, from the Students Union and from the Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish faiths all delivered messages of peace and non-violence.

  113. Penny OyamaNovember 11, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    I’m afraid there is too much marketing, corporate profiting, and general ignorance around such days of memorial in general, and November 11 in particular, for these times to be useful in remembering anything, much less the people who gave their ultimate sacrifice for the good of the survivors. Such concepts as sacrifice, “for one’s country”, “for the good of all”, etc. are vastly distorted, as the media steps up the showing of war movies for example, and advertisers increase the sale of war-related material during such seasons. As well, the brain-washing done not only on members of the military but also on their families and friends, at least on this continent, about the value of their participation in armed conflict as being for the “good of their country” is completely erroneous. There is no threat here, so it’s obvious that they fight for the promotion of war, and the profit of the military-industrial complex. And this is where real education of the public is desperately needed!

  114. Lynn PerrinNovember 11, 2010 at 8:41 pm #

    Yes Remeberance Day glorifies war in my opinion. When are we going to end this insanity that somehow strikes every generation. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. Enough is enough.

  115. Dieter KirsteNovember 11, 2010 at 8:34 pm #

    Thanks for asking. There are many good reasons for remembering the wars and our fallen. Wars do however have more to do with politicians ego than with defending peace. We need a government, that has the withdom to defend peace. Had the United States spend only a small amount on peace efforts instead of the billions it spend on wars, the world would be a better place. We do need a better way to elect GOOD Government than what we have now.

  116. paul phillipsNovember 11, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    The harrowing accounts,throughout history, of war,death and dying,seem to have no effect on the future actions of the living.Still young people sign up,still they are trained to kill other humans Powerful
    weapon manufacturers ,forces personnel, politicians,non-combatants themselves,creating fearful rationales,encouraging more death and dying.
    We must educate the young,right from kindergarten, so they clearly see that war is a criminal waste of life,is an outcome of unchanneled agression,necessitating treatment.That they practice peace,so it becomes their nature.It is our only future

  117. Jean R. MacintyreNovember 11, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    I am on the side of the mourning not adulating. But in my young days, in school in Scotland, we gathered in the main hall at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month to keep the 2 minutes silence and learn something about why we were there. Not in favour of war but in favour of fighting for peace – oxymoron as that may be! I do not like the fact that we now have a ‘holiday’ on Nov. 11th – that mainly allows people to go off for the day or the weekend. In order to have some children at the Cenotaphs, apart from the childen’s choirs which add a lot, there would have to be some time off school – but not a whole day holiday! And the same thing could be done in offices and workshops wherever possible. And I see no reason why we should not be mourning our more recent dead. Unfortunately. Sadly.

  118. RonNovember 11, 2010 at 8:10 pm #

    An old Shaman once said to me that ‘Power flows where attention goes’. We really dont want to forget the dead in these wars but we certainly want to dissempower war and giving it our undivided attention only expands the idea. People are pretty much asleep on their feet when it comes to understanding the true dynamics of the universe. Bathe the idea of war with more energy and “voila” you get more war. It really is that simple. We’re still quite ignorant children compared to the rest of creation. What we need to do is have peace days where that idea is paramount. Cheers R

  119. Leonard DesrochesNovember 11, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    War is the sending of our young to do our killing and our dying. Therefore we have a moral responsibility to remember those who have died in all wars. Those of us who do not accept the institution of war have a responsibility to remember in very different ways than the state would like us to. Every year near and on Remembrance Day I put on the pin we created for the Cruise Missile Conversion Project: “To remember is to end all war.” Today a young man read my pin and said, “Why isn’t there more of a public conversation about this?”

    Général Jacques de Bollardière was a French soldier decorated for bravery by not only France, but England and Belgium as well. After thirty years of active war-making (Second World War, Algeria, Vietnam) he so thoroughly renounced the very institution of war that he declared, “War is nothing but the dangerous disease of an infantile humanity.”

  120. Elaine DavidoffNovember 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    On Remembrance Day please spend time praying that wars and conflicts cease and humanity finds peaceful ways of resolving conflicts that will not ever again needlessly kill loved ones around the world!

  121. David MajorNovember 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    While it would be nice if there was a peaceful resolution to all of the world’s conflicts, it is still necessary to have a well-trained and equipped military. We need a strong military because we live next to the most militaristic nation on earth. So enjoy your discussion but don’t doubt for a second that you owe your freedom to have the discussion to all the veterans of the last hundred years.
    So yes, keep Remembrance Day to revere our veterans and to keep the memory of their sacrifice fresh. If we don’t we are doomed to repeat the past mistakes.
    And as for the white poppy, get your own symbol and pick another day to celebrate it. I hope the Legion sues the perpetrator of that for copyright infringement.

  122. LynNovember 11, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    I believe that it is the job of goverment to work diligently towards actions that will result in peace.

    As the daughter of a return service man, 2nd world war, I believe that it is very important that we acknowledge the sacrifices that have been made, and continue to be made by military personnel. Unfortunately suffering does not end when a war ends, families spend lifetimes trying to heal those who have sacrificed their physical and mental health for our well being. Rememberance Day is a day to remember and acknowledge those people who chose to risk their lives and also their families. It is certainly not a celebration of war.

  123. Katherine KNovember 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

    I was just discussing this question today with my partner. And yes, we both feel that Remembrance day is too much about glorifying soldiers and their sacrifice, and not nearly enough about promoting an end to wars everywhere, and soberly reflecting on the great damage they inflict on people, the environment, and the stability of our global village.

    But it’s frustrating, because many people get so “up in arms” (hah hah) when you dare to criticize remembrance day, for obvious reasons – how can you criticize the “ultimate sacrifice”?

    And I have to say, I do have feelings of respect (and awe) for those who are willing to die for what they (hopefully) believe in their hearts to be a good cause. It’s pretty damn brave. And so in that sense, I understand wanting to honour their sacrifice.

    The problem of course is that a lot of us are pretty sure that (especially today), our country is not sending women and men overseas to fight good causes. So instead we stay home and do not go downtown to attend a ceremony that portrays these women and men as heroes. . . I definitely feel uncomfortable being part of a ceremony that is sending a message to our younger generations that “If you go and fight overseas in Afghanistan, we will honour you like this as well!”

    Anyhow, what to do?

    It seems to me that the best approach, to start, would be to find a way to incorporate more messages of the importance of peace, and the importance of remembering civilian casualties of war, and the importance of questioning why we go to war. . . without alienating those who feel so strongly that remembrance day should focus on veterans, dead soldiers, and their sacrifice.

    Surely those who want remembrance day to be primarily about red poppies and military glory would not deny the importance of reflecting on the evils of war and the importance of peace?

    It would be nice for everyone to work together on this day and not set up 2 warring camps (hah hah again) each clamouring for their own way to be had on 11th November.

    thanks Ceasefire for initiating this discussion!

  124. Pat TrueloveNovember 11, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    Canadians are bound to have divergent views on the role of our military, as they will on countless other difficult questions. But surely, November 11th should be one time when we can come together on certain things, for example: the sacrifices of the past must be honoured, and we all have a duty to work toward a better world. The debate about which road leads to that better world can wait for another day. Today is for remembering, period.

  125. Petra AccipiterNovember 11, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    Remembrance Day has become politicized in a way that would surely sicken WWI veterans. “Never Again” has become “Ever Again”.
    There is always a level of moral ambiguity in war when profit drives the conflict but never so much as now. The rhetoric of “fighting for our freedom” is so tranparent it would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.
    Surely, we see the naked motive of power elites and militarism when our government doesn’t contribute a cent to Honour House. Veterans Affairs denies the physical, financial and emotional needs of veterans and allows bureaucrats to violate their privacy with no recourse in law.
    Cannon fodder is just that.

    The comments of others here are remarkably insightful and give me hope for the cause of peace.
    The ONLY way to honour veterans is to work for peace.

  126. DrewNovember 11, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    Support our troops: bring them home safe, alive, and NOW!!!

  127. Yasmin WooldridgeNovember 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    I agree wholeheartedly that Rememberance Day is a commemoration of war rather than peace. We are constantly asked to remember young men and women that lost their lives and how we must never forget. But no more do we hear anyone say “Never again” for war. Now it seems that we must celebrate youth in uniforms and count numbers of dead than recognize the faces behind these names. Every time politicans and the like say that it was for “freedom”. What are our freedoms? That which is written in the Charter of Rigths? And yet a Canadian citizen languished in Guantanomo Bay tortured and humilated. The wars Canada have been against countries that are not with war with us. The war in Afghanistan isn’t over until all troops leave and peace reigns. The people of Canada were promised that Canadian troops would be pulled out of Afghanistan by next summer. Instead the troops will remain in Afghanistan until an undeterminded date. We have to ask ourselves are these men and women losing their lives to benefit Afghanis and Canadians or Iragis? Canada is not being threatened by the Afghani people nor the Iraqi people. We are told by politicans that are freedoms are under threat by a small minority of people. But I feel are biggest threat is ignorance. We cannot possibly understand the needs, beliefs and customs of the people of Afghanistan and Iraq nor can they understand ours. Figeratively speaking we are worlds apart but war fare does not bring peoples any closer to understanding nor tolerance. I have had family members in both World Wars, I have had family members that were killed and never came home to rest. They were decorated for their bravery (one young man never saw these medals) but they are no heroes. They did not want to rob mothers, wives and children of theur sons, husbands and fathers. Social circumstance forced them into war, neither King nor Country under any other time would have made them fight. War and propaganda made the “enemy” into supernatural beings. Each country was robbed for it’s humanity despite the so-called rules of the Geneva Convention which was in many cases largely ignored and underminded. Here in North America and Europe we believe we live in a world of Hope and Glory. We believe ourselves to have more than other people could dream of. Therefore if we are so rich and fortunate must we not ask what it means to be free, what it means to have peace? In the last ten years it has been the United States that has declared war on two nations. It has been agreed that the war against Iraq was illegal. There was no evidence to go to war against Iraq, there was no threat to the U.S., Canada or any other nation in the world. There has been no evidence to suggest that the incident of 11th September 2001 was the result of Afghani people or Afghanistan as a country. Why did the U.S. declare war on Afghanistan? Why is Canada involved in this subjugation?

  128. Larry KazdanNovember 11, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    Don’t settle for war: WW1 veteran

    Harry Patch, a British First World War veteran who died in 2009 at age 111, described war as the “calculated and condoned slaughter of human beings” and said that “war isn’t worth one life.” He urged that disputes be settled by discussion and compromise rather than fighting.

    The governing institutions that we devise are extremely influential in determining whether contentious issues can be resolved by legal and judicial means, rather than by military conflict. For example, Germans and French were at war during the time of Napoleon, then again in 1871, again in 1914 and once more in 1939. But today, as part of the European Union, these countries participate in a shared currency, enjoy open borders, and elect representatives to a common European Parliament. The threat of a general European War has receded to practically nil.

    On the international scene, we can similarly start building the institutions and consciousness of a global community by supporting the establishment of a Parliamentary Assembly at the United Nations (detailed at the next generation of governing institutions would be a much wiser focus for our resources and intelligence than a fatalistic resignation to violence, and a never-ending search for ever more destructive and insidious techniques of warfare.

    Larry Kazdan

  129. Irene LegerNovember 11, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    It is good to remember those who gave their life for freedom but there is a bit too much insistence on this. It is important to insist on the necessity of peace. We are a global village and all should work for peace; Remembrance Day is a good opportunity to remind us of this.

  130. A. Maeser LemieuxNovember 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Yes, I think that too much emphasis is on the heroism and sacrifice and nobility of war, and not enough is spent on the message of Love Your Neighbor and the imperative to create a world without suffering and violence as a way to solve problems and differences. I feel that war is still glorified and warriors are haled as heroes—just as in bygone days–and we have not really progressed much in terms of a collective revulsion for war. I think we spend much too much money on military and equipment, and we could be turning our weapons into plowshares (economic programs to help countries).

  131. NeufeldNovember 11, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    We abuse Remembrance Day functions to stirr the emotions about the self sacrif and the many that were forced to make it but not stop and examin the reason we went to war; why we are at war never mind exploring ways to prevent future wars.
    This is a tragedy.
    Gerhard Neufeld

  132. Bob SettleNovember 11, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    At the remembrance service today I heard them talk of fighting for our freedom, but I did not hear peace mentioned.
    I always thought we should remember war so we won’t do it again.

  133. sharonNovember 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    Unfortunately, today we have a situation where mercenaries are heavily involved in war, and politicians skew the language by saying war is necessary for peace, that one must ‘bring’ democracy to all in the world . . . while decreasing our own.

    It is no wonder that the young are confused.
    Peace has been hijacked.
    Language has been hijacked.
    Technology and its rulers are in charge . . . and the underclass is sent to war.

    Meanwhile, the earth is being attacked daily by our blind desires for comfortable lives. The war is actually against ourselves. The earth will have its final say.

    I shall remember my farming relatives who died in WWI and WWII, believing in the big lies of war. It is a crime. I mourn for the price they paid and for all the world’s future.

  134. Liddy GomesNovember 11, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    While I feel that we must never forget those who sacrificed their lives in the war and having Remembrance day is a tool to achieve this, it is equally important to also remember the innocent civilians who have died through no fault of their own specifically in countries where there was no threat of invasion into Canada. I know these are complex issues but at the least we can also remember not only our own but also the other side of equal suffering. Peace.

  135. Victoria ShymloskyNovember 11, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Peace not War… There is a very powerful book called, “Generals die in Bed.” An addition to the book could also read so do politicians. So many countries around the world spend vast amounts of money, their budgets, GDP on military and weaponry, i.e. trillions which is staggering. Just think of all other social, environmental programs, services and peaceful needs that could be served instead. The HOPI prophecy states that currently humanity is living in the age of “War as a way of Life.”

  136. Marie LloydNovember 11, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Not all wars-in fact, few wars- are fought for freedom. Many have been waged for geopolitical advantage, for resources and for varieties of colonialism.
    I am sad that earnest Canadian soldiers fight in Afghanistan when Karzai is an opportunist and his brother a known warlord. What kind of “freedom” is implicit in this compromise?

    I’m glad that my uncle helped liberate Holland in the second world war. That war was pretty unambiguous.
    When we fight in a land far away for a sketchy leader, how can we help but accept the description “invaders”?

  137. kentNovember 11, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    I think nothing has changed the vets that come from any conflict still pray for peace. As a vet I have talked to very few people who glorify war that have been there. There is nothing about it to glorify.

  138. P. MartinNovember 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    Except for the uniquely American references, the article by Laurence Vance at sums up my feelings about Remembrance Day.

  139. Gary MarkleNovember 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    “Between the crosses, row on row…..

    Yes, we remember. We remember war and it’s brutality. How can we forget those who have fought and died fighting for peace.

    But let us not forget the millions and millions of un-named dead citizens of this world who have died at the hands or war, by men in military uniforms. They also died struggling for peace. Begging and pleading for it.

    No, they are forgotten, un-named, unknown. We focus on those soldiers who return from war broken men and heros in hearses. We carve their names is stone.

    Lest we forget, the un-named dead deserve remembrance too.

  140. Dave HubertNovember 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Remembrance Day has been hijacked by those who want to militarize Canada. Prime Minister Harper has stated that the way to gain global influence is to project robust military power. The failure of Canada to gain a seat on the UN Security Council in 2010, demonstrates that this assumption is incorrect. Nevertheless, the efforts to militarize the hearts and minds of Canadians continues, as does the escalation of Canadian military spending. The large increases in funding of the propaganda apparatus in Canada is an attempt by the Conservative Party to remake Canada in its own warlike image.
    Canada could take a strong leadership role in helping the world to a more peaceful future. Instead we are opting to pursue a course of emulating a host of other countries that are committed to violence rather than the rule of law in its international relations.
    There is no way to peace. Peace is the way. Guns, jet fighters and bombs won’t get us there.

  141. Victoria ShymloskyNovember 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Yes, we can honour and remember those men and women who made sacrifices and died in the wars.

    After World War 1 they said was “this was the war to end all wars”, then along came World War 2 which was exponentially even more bloody and horrific with all the weapons of mass destruction. Thousands of towns and cities were pulverized.

    My parents survived the horrors and tragedies of World War 2 as millions of others, that is displaced persons. They came to Canada to make a better life. My mother was slave labour in Nazi Germany, my father was a prisoner of war who almost starved to death, other close people to my family survived the death camps.

    We need to remember all the 100 millions of people soldiers and civilians who died in all the wars, WW1, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Peace Keeping missions, Afghanistan, etc.

    It is the time to honour PEACE. “Why do nations so furiously fight together?” Messiah We must also remember the “Doomsday Clock” is ticking closer to midgnight because of the assembling of a vast number weapons of mass destruction and arsenals around the world by a variety of nations which threaten all of us. We need comprehensive international treaties on Non-Proliferation of a wide array of weaponry. “Let there be Peace on Earth…”

  142. John BlackNovember 11, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    I agree. I stopped attending Remembrance Day events several years ago as I observed the transition from remembering the dead and their sacrifice to glofication of the military and their imperialist activities in Afghanistan.

  143. Gerry MasudaNovember 11, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    As a former officer in the Canadian Armed Forces for 28 years, I have now turned against war. Being bombarded with the impact of area weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan and the resulting death and maiming of civilians (among whom the guerrillas meld), I have concluded that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are war crimes.

    Both these preemptive wars were inflicted on these countries for false reasons.

    To discourage preemptive imperial wars in future, We the Peoples of the world should unite in pressing for war reparations to replace the infrastructure deliberately destroyed in these countries as military theatre policy. The sums would be great and never be totally paid. However, if war reparations were levied against the US and its allies and a minimum annual payment mounting to say 5% of the annual budgets of each of the nations so identified, be imposed, it would act as a powerful disincentive for our leaders to go to war or support a war which is not clearly in defence of our national vital interests.

    In summary war reparations would help Iran and Afghanistan reconstruct their infrastructure and act as a deterrent for other new imperial wars.

  144. Larry HannantNovember 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    The regrettable feature of contemporary life is that militarism is becoming more pervasive. Militarism is more than the constant acquisition of weapons and the extension of Western militaries into more and more countries. Militarism is also the conviction that force is the solution to human problems. “Iran oppresses women? — Bomb Iran!” That’s the type of faulty thinking that prevails today.

    Unfortunatley, November 11 is increasingly being used to promote that way of viewing the world.

  145. Sandra CowleyNovember 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm #

    We can not do or say enough to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice so many of our youth have given for this country’s and its’ allies’ beliefs. We do not glory war by doing this, but rather, we honour those who cared enough for what they believed in to brave the evil of our enemies on the battlefields and behind the protection of the innocent bodies from which those enemies attack/ed.

    Sadly, sometimes it is imperative that we go to war because the alternative is allowing evil to dominate us and our offspring and evil is neither appeased nor is it conquered without blood.

    Satan does sit on one shoulder, whilst our ‘good’ angel sits on the other. We can not deny this and how can we, after the Holocaust, Cambodia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burma, World Wars I and II?

  146. Peter DerksenNovember 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    I believe that to remember is to work for peace, and not to glorify and justify war.

  147. Bill BrownNovember 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    As any fool knows, Rememberence Day is only about recognizing the sacrifice made by those that have served in times of war, but for those who put on the uniform of their country and serve to protect the ideals from which we are able to live today. Organizations such as ceasefire wouldn’t be able to exist in any other culture but the one we are prepared to defend.
    Bringing our soldiers home from foreign soil in a war of attrition is one point of view, directing the venom towards those who are willing to serve is a return to the Vietnam era and is totaly unacceptable.
    I’m proud to say I served eight years in our military 40+yeaars ago.

  148. EvelynNovember 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm #

    I think we should never forget to remind all people and especially those who were too young to know of the horrors of war – especially the first two big wars of the previous century and how the 2nd World War culminated. Only through knowledge of what happened to our young people who fought and gave their lives can we hope to have all people see the folly in killing each other off, for whatever reason, can we hope to have peace. All nations must learn to respect one another. Nations do not have the right to instill their beliefs on others. I do respect our soldiers for going to other countries with the hope of doing good.

  149. Fern WalkerNovember 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    I tend to agree with you. It is too bad that we are no longer “peace keepers.” The new “fighter jets” are an example of what is not right with Harper’s government.


  150. Ben BenedictNovember 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm #

    Is Remembrance Day too much about the celebration and profiting from war rather than a recognition of peace and social harmony – you bet! I served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 82 – 88 and all it got me was cronic back pain from an injury recieved while on exercise. As a former military prsonel, not a veteran, I refuse to wear a poppy, I did my time and served my country and while I was fortunate it was during peace time, my efforts did contribute to that peace and that’s what needs to be recognized – not necessarily me. Today’s ‘war heroes’ or economic casualties of the millitary propaganda machine are ever increasingly victems of this system we call democracy. I beleive that we as a nation must stand to protect others but what does that mean when millions die in Rwanda because they have no oil and yet we let hundreds of our children die in Afghanistan to protect an oil pipeline or drug cartel? Where’s the honour in that. As a former soldier I can tell you there is no honour where men die, just blood and lost dreams… that’s what we remember and that’s what Remembrance Day is truly about. Lets put an end to war and greed so they can finally, “Rest in Peace.”

  151. Raymonde MaisonneuveNovember 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    My father is 92 years old and a veteran of WWII. Today is a very important day for him. My mother was a British war bride. Today represents a great deal for my family. I have always commemorated with them this day, remembering the sacrifice of so many fallen.
    We must remember that always. NEVER AGAIN!!
    I do not think that war is the answer. It does not lead to peace.
    Let us have the courage to say NO to the wars waged now..

  152. Peg YoungNovember 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    Ironically, it is precisely because we do remember the past that there are so many conflicts. Youngsters are indoctrinated with old hatreds at their mothers’ knees and the torch of revenge and malice is handed over.

    While most of our young people genuinely desire peace, no-one should doubt that this is happening in Canada today. Several years ago I had students write a journal entry commenting on the fact that a woman had been injured that day by a letter bomb sent to a Jewish organization in Calgary. A young boy, born in Canada of Lebanese parents wrote, “That’s fine with me. We are war with them.” No wonder there are wars, if the youngsters are being taught such things in a peaceful country such as ours.

    If we read “In Flanders Fields” carefully we can see that it is a highly pro-war poem, and yet we use it to promote peace! Odd logic.

    In 1918, my grandfather died of the flu in the south of England waiting to be shipped across to France. As a result, his young widow was left to raise 4 small children alone. His tombstone reads, “Died in the service of king and country.” What rot! He was a baker whose service should have been to help feed his community and to care for his family.

    Wilfred Owen, after witnessing the horrors of war said it best–that if we had seen what he had seen, we “. . . would not tell with such high zest/To children ardent for some desperate glory ,/The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est/Pro patria mori.”

    I taught in high school and I had ESL classes of youngsters from all over the world–many from war-stricken countries. When I introduced them to the up-coming commemoration of Remembrance Day, many were puzzled at why we spoke only of the military involvement. Many of them had lost family members, so for them war was a personal, real thing.

    “When the bom come, my house is destroyt,” wrote one girl of her home in Serbia. It took a private chat with the PE teacher to help her understand that water is plentiful and inexpensive in Canada and that she should be showering regularly.

    Another cried as she spoke of rescuing her grandmother’s violin. It was the only thing she had left of her grandmother who had been killed in a bomb blast.

    Our discussion of the day embraced a wider scope than uniforms, medals and parades. When we stood to attention for the 2 minutes’ silence, they thought of ALL the people in the world who had suffered the ravages of war. I hope that as residents and new citizens of Canada they were able to carry that concept into their lives and promote the peace that their families sought by coming here.

    I always watch the Ottawa ceremony on this day, and I weep along with everyone else, but without wishing to diminish the sacrifices and losses, I prefer to Imagine with John Lennon.

  153. Jen SchultzNovember 11, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    I think we should be leaving politics out of Rememberance Day. It should be a day where we remember the workers of the military(i.e. the soldiers, the sailors, and the pilots). The workers do not make the decision whether a country goes to war or not. The decision to go to war or to declare peace is not made by individual soldiers. It is made by presidents and prime ministers.

    Dragging the question of whether a country should be at war or not into rememberance day, is akin to discussing a company’s activities during Mayday. Imagine if a company violated enviornmental standards, human rights, and labour laws and an administrative assistant that worked for that company wanted to participate in mayday activities. Should Mayday organizers take into consideration where this person works when considering whether this person should help out during Mayday activities?

    If we want a day to commemorate peace, let’s create a whole seperate day. In that way, we can honor not only the presidents and prime ministers that declare peace, but all the civilians who also have worked to create a more peaceful world.

  154. MichaelNovember 11, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    I have the utmost respect for our soldiers. I was in the reserve and have worked at a training base, CFB Kingston, and at RMC and the National Defence College. I can say with all confidence that I met a wide range of military personnel from all backgrounds and every region and no two were alike. Hawkish ones, peace-lovers, big-hearted tough guys, well-read intellectuals, etc. And some less likeable, too.

    There were many reasons they were in the military. Some came from military families, some were from poor regions and it was the only way to make a living; others wanted to do good in the world and yes, there were a few who wanted to live the Hollywood dream of the action hero, too.

    My problem isn’t with the vets so much – it’s with how Remembrance Day is being framed. I agree that there is a fine line between mourning and adulation and it would seem we’ve become an ultra-patriotic nation these days – yet it is sometimes an unthinking patriotism; to some (and I think it may be obvious to who I’m referring) it has become a political tool to win votes. This to me is morally wrong.

    I used to think as a country we ignored our soldiers and the whole notion of war but now unfortunately I think we’ve taken on the jingoistic patriotism of the Americans without actually increasing the average person’s knowledge and awareness of Canada’s role in military conflict.

    I don’t know too many vets who consider themselves to be heroes and again it seems to be politically convenient for some politicians out there to wrap themselves in the flag with our CF members – only to do so to try to make the other guy look LESS patriotic. As we’ve seen in other aspects the vets have been left sadly neglected these days.

    And the lessons of war? Where did they go?

    There seems to be little heed of the older veterans’ cry of “never again” as we pump up the volume with military displays at football and hockey games, but do our kids really know about war, how it destroys and should be avoided whenever possible? Or is war just ‘cool’ today?

    Why do we now demean the role of the Canadian military in Canada’s visionary concept of peacekeeping? No peacekeeping mission was perfect but it was a bold idea that should not be so quickly discarded. War as an alternative to peacekeeping leads only to death for certain, not just the possibility.

    My great-uncle died two years ago at 87. He was fought at Ortona and Normandy and he had great contempt for those who glorify war as an insult to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

    Let’s make Canada’s kids more aware of our military history but let’s not turn our vets into simple action figures on November 11.

  155. Y.A.ZarownyNovember 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    I have problems with your question. Whatever we think of the wars and real reasons for them, I do think we need a time to think of the high cost to the men, women and their families of their going to war in the name of Canada. Then there is the high cost to the environment, and of course the incredibly high fiscal costs. I think we need to really focus on these high costs, “lest we forget”; lest we forget what a true participatory democracy is like; what a media that informs rather than forms is like; what a government that puts the needs of its citizens first rather than the corporate profits of its party’s contributors; that it banks that profit the most from a country that runs up debt in order to go to war or prepare to go to war … lest we forget …

  156. Dorothy McElhinneyNovember 11, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    Dear Veterans Today is Rememberance Day November 11 At 11 am I watched the memorial service in Ottawa. the reeves were laid and the speeches were given the songs and prayers all aluded to peace. My father was in the wW1 and never talked about it. My daughter gave me a book that was banned. ” Generals Die in bed” The book was written in Hamilton, Ontario. It explains war and its atrotices and we still keepat the same game of war. When shall we become more civilized.? When we have peaceful leaders. Dorothy

  157. Paul MarquesNovember 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    I wear a poppy and I respect the sacrifices of the people who fought in the great wars. I also know that politicians, and particularly conservative politicians, like to make connections between the current involvement and past glories/sacrifices. The connection is seldom direct but it’s there. I’ve noticed that our military is far more in the forefront of public discourse now and there has been a real shift in how our military is presented. No longer as an anacronym with little relevence in a world that is at peace, but as an integral part of modern Canada that is at war. Inevitable, I suppose. Depending on how the symbolism plays out, I can imagine a time when I might have to stop wearing the poppy if it starts to be code for support for the troops’ continued presence in Afghanistan. Thanks.

  158. Marie ChidleyNovember 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    I feel very discouraged during the days leading up to Remembrance Day. I am certain that since 9/11 it has changed focus. Both my father-in-law and father were veterans of the WW 2. My nephew and other relatives have served in the “mission” in Afghanistan. So war has touched our family in very personal ways. My husband and I will not attend the “official” ceremonies on November 11th. Instead we wear a red poppy and a white poppy and visit the cemetery to pay our respects to our fathers and remember the horrors of war.It seems that Canada has joined the “perpetual war” team. I am very disappointed in our Government.

  159. Gordon McDowellNovember 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    If I could ever find a white poppy, I would definitely wear it on Nov/11.
    Our politicians have squandered the good reputation that our military had won as peacekeepers around the world. I don’t recall voting to turn them into peacemakers, which is impossible at the end of a gun. It seems we never stop to ask the question of who makes money off the wars without having any skin in it.
    I feel very sorry for our military who are taught to not ask questions, only to follow orders and hope that their leaders have the wisdom to use their skills in the best way and not for political or corporate gain.
    Here are some of the reasons that I oppose the current wars, and the data can easily be checked out.
    -Al Qaida was started and funded and supplied by the CIA.
    -The US was interested and their corporations were bidding to build a pipeline from the caspian basin states across Afganistan.
    -Prior to starting the war in Afganistan, Bridas Corp. out of Brazil had won that bid.
    -The puppet Karzai was a Vice President of Unocal from California, prior to his current job as president of Afghanistan.
    -The US allied and supported the Taliban in the 1980’s while they fought the soviets.
    -Following 911, Bush demanded that the Taliban turn over Ossama Bin Laden to them, or they would bomb them back to the stone age.
    – The Taliban was willing to do so, they only asked for proof that he was to blame for 911. To this day the FBI does not have him on their most wanted list for 911, as there is no proof.
    -Prior to 911, the Taliban had almost eradicated heroin production. 90% of the world supply now comes from Afghanistan. Most of the drugs sold around the world is supplied by the intelligence agencies.
    – The Afghanistan people in their rugged mountainous country have never been defeated, and they won’t be.
    -While we hear the number of soldiers who are killed and tallied, we don’t hear the tally of the civilians, who are referred to as collateral damage. Do we ever think about that word “collateral”. Who is it that owns them and can thus decide to dispose of them in this way.
    -Can someone tell me again, why our military people are dieing in Afghanistan?
    It is way past time for us to be glorifying PEACE, rather than war.

  160. KenskyNovember 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Rememberance day should be a day to celebrate the struggle for peace and the many lives lost, civilian and other because of groups trying to solve social issues with violence.

    Today a group of us were at the Ottawa war memorial at 12:30 pm to lay a wreath of white poppies to symbolize a desire for peace, a focus on ways of having peace and to mourn the lose of all lives tragically ended by war. Ironically just as we finished, someone stole our wreath. Well the wreath is just a symbol. They can’t steal our thoughts. We took the white poppies from our lapels and formed a cluster once again on the steps of the memorial.

    Peace be with you,


    Ken Billings
    ActCity Ottawa
    Ottawa, Canada

  161. Ralferd and Harriet FreytagNovember 11, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    We need to do both, commemorate and honour the persons who put their lives at risk to fight in the wars that their country has initiated. On the other hand, we need to emphasize the better way of dealing with issues, that of understanding and the willingness of both sides of an issue to give to the other what is possible within the limmits of the conditions that exist.

    Grabbing needs to be resisted. Sharing needs to be the order of the day.

  162. Barbara BergerNovember 11, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    When I listened to the excellent presentation by Michael Buyer on the government’s purchase of the F35 stealth bombers and thought about how that relates to remembrance day, I think we’ve lost touch with what we are doing. The actions of this gov’t do not resemble in any way the need for peace. To me it is an action that glorifies war and is leading us ever into battles that have no purpose, other than to support the military industrial complex. The soldiers who are being sent to Afghanistan today are dying needlessly because we NATO countries have endorsed war instead of peace (ie: building schools, infrastructure,social amenities, etc.) We have the ability to blow up the world. Thank God we’re smart enough to see that. Now we just have to stop buying more weapons!

  163. Ian MillerNovember 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Not to disrespect those who have lost their lives in ANY war, the fact is that the people who pay the ultimate price in conflict, both fighters and civilians, are at the mercy of corrupt and power hungry governments.

    Their agenda is to keep the population on edge and in fear of “evil”. To highlight my point, witness Stephen Harper’s Remembrance Day timing to announce HIS decision to extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

    Only after we, collectively, reject fear and discrimination and accept Peace as the solution to our differences, will we realize an end to violence.

  164. Chris KleinNovember 11, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    Latest since Canada’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan does the message of the RED POPPY sound hollow and hypocritical. Yes, it has become a propaganda tool to brainwash the population. Help us to expose the warmongers of today! Why not erect a monument to the war- resisters, as proposed by Tarek Fatah on CFRB Radio last night?

  165. SteveNovember 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

    Indeed: Remembrance Day has been co-opted by the merchants of war. I don’t remember it ever being so jingoistic as it is now. Ceremonies sound like recruitment drives, and the solemnity replaced by bravado. It would appear we actually forgotten.

  166. Patricia MolloyNovember 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    If every person I see walking around wearing a poppy would bother themselves to go to an anti-war demo, then maybe, just maybe we could get our troops out of Afghanistan. There is nothing remotely pro-peace about November 11.

  167. larry CarneyNovember 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Too much about war, subconsciously glorifying it for people. We mix patriotism with a blind commitment to what our government chooses to do. I fear the only way to back our troops is to bring them home…but the only way that seems to happen is when the price is too great and we see too many casualties and bodies being brought home. So I feel guilty, but almost rejoice at bad news of another soldier killed since it seems the only way to save all kinds of other soldiers. And sometimes we’re just on the wrong side of justice, so we can’t defend our government’s actions (but we keep trying to!)

  168. Franklin WhiteNovember 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm #

    Remembrance Day as we currently practice it in Canada is focused almost entirely on the tragic deaths of soldiers lost in conflicts, most of which were senseless crimes for which decision makers were/are not held to account. Their remembrance is “used” by political and military interests to “legitimize” armed conflict. It would be better if we were to remember all casulties, including the “enemy”, and more actively explore alternatives to “war”. Today, most casulties are foreign civilians with no direct connections to us, and increasingly passed off as “collateral damage”, often due to remote forms of “combat”. This willful blindness to the other half of the story perpetuates the cycle of misunderstanding. There is a strong case here for “white poppies”.

  169. Wayne FNovember 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Who better to provide commentary on war than WWII survivor and author Eli Wiesel:

    Wars serve agendas that have nothing to do with the good of humanity. They ARE absurd and commemorating them, though well-intentioned by most, is also absurd. “Remembering” is a way to continue making war acceptable, and it is not. NEVER AGAIN has done nothing to deter war-mongers who drive that agenda – Remembrance Day began at the culmination of WW-I and look at the track record of the 20th century.

    Let’s focus all the energy and resources into service to humanity instead.

  170. nick303November 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    i think the distinction we have to make is between 1) the individuals that make up the military and 2) militarism and what that does to a society when the country is at war. any display of soldiers and equipment is designed to inspire awe. some would manipulate that awe into deference towards the militarization of our society, especially during war time. how else would you get people to sign up to fight if you didn’t leave out the part where they might die a horrible death? remembrance day creates a weird zone where we celebrate sacrifice but disavow its meaning. to me it’s more about the fact that we don’t reflect on the human cost of war the other 364 days of the year that says the most us, not whether or not this one day is co-opted by some to glorify war. i tend to agree more often than not with those vets who say remembrance should be every day.

    i have a cousin in the cf and on his third tour in afghanistan. i do not support the war. i have mixed feelings all the time that are not easily resolved. i want to see him (and all his comrades) return home safely to his family. i support his decision to try to make a difference in this world. i question his willingness to kill and die while working towards that objective, but i respect him. i question not my cousin’s motives, but rather i question the motives of those who make all the decisions and assume none of the physical risk. i think that’s what i owe my cousin: to make sure the civilian leadership giving him his orders have a brain in their heads and are held accountable for their errors in judgment. if veterans fought for anything, it was for the right of any canadian to say publicly “f*#k the gov’t!” if s/he wants to. if veterans fought for anything, it was so we didn’t have to share the same opinion as everyone else under threat of sanction.

    i think in the modern age of pilotless drones and intercontinental missiles, we have a big question in front of us: is the most eponymous anti-democratic institution of our society (the military) the best tool we have to achieve the goal of sharing our values (democracy among them) with other people who may or may not welcome their introduction? what are we saying when we use people who must carry out orders without question to impose a system where people supposedly won’t have to take orders from anyone if they don’t want to? why are we surprised that other people on the other side of the world find this not just ironic but hypocritical?

  171. Maggie HughesNovember 11, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Yes, I am increasingly disgusted with the way we celebrate Remembrance Day, with too much glorification of war, especially our recent and, in my opinion,stupid, brutal, wasteful, wars…We need to use this day to talk about Peace and how we can work towards it.

  172. MargueriteNovember 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Many of the Remembrance Day speeches by today’s politicians glorify Canada’s war fighting and military prowess without ever acknowledging the untold sorrow that war has brought to humankind. There is something cruelly ironic about a Canadian government official extolling the virtues of military action while standing before sculptures of sorrowing figures or inscribed lamentations on a war memorial and weeping men and women in the crowd. Nevertheless, this is consistent with our current government’s insidious program of militarization of Canadian culture. The powerful military-industrial lobby will have it no other way.

    The best way to tell our war dead that they have not died in vain is to promise them that we will work to make world community, justice and reason the guiding principles of Canada’s distinctive way of lifting the shadow of war.

  173. Anita RoyNovember 11, 2010 at 3:38 pm #

    I definitely think that Remembrance Day has been hijacked by government and business interests to glorify the war. I find myself all muddled up as I get emotional about all those who died fighting, righteously thinking that they were doing some long term good, and those who died collaterally. These emotions that I feel at a Remembrance Day event are easily hijacked by those who use such emotional moments to support war… if I wasn’t vigilant I’d be lined up to “support the troops” by *not* questioning the why’s, the wherefores etc. I think Remembrance Day should be about remembering so that we don’t repeat the history that our species has lived through, with a lot of pain and suffering. I also agree that for every dollar spent on “defense” we should spend another dollar on peace making, peace education, and diplomacy and most of all… finding the roots of the discontent, like really looking deep and addressing those. If the Canadian dollar effort in Afghanistan had been divided up amongst the people there in gifts of food, infrastructure and educaiton, there would have been no contest. People would have come to our “side” in droves, away from the Taliban.

  174. JamesNovember 11, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    My father and uncles and most of the men in the neighbourhood I grew up in were veterans of WW2. We kids thought that it was the greatest, most exciting thing imaginable and we’d pester them for their stories. Most wouldn’t say any more than “it was awful and we did it so you wouldn’t have to.”
    It wasn’t until was much older that I realized that war is ALWAYS about money. The business angle is never mentioned in the news. We’re expected to “Support the Troops” (does anyone wake up in the morning and wish Canadian soldiers to be killed that day?) but it’s rarely mentioned that supporting the troops means questioning the mission and holding the leaders’ feet to the fire. What is the mission? Is it do-able? Is it moral? Has every other option been exhausted? Do the soldiers have what they need to achieve the objectives?
    These things don’t come up because the arms industry doesn’t want them to come up. There’s not much profit in peacetime for these people. We’ve got to do to Big Weapons what we’ve done to Big Tobacco and that is cut the industry down to the bare minimum.
    None of the veterans I’ve ever met said that war was a lot of fun and it’s great place to invest your money.

  175. A&M StewartNovember 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    We wear the red poppy for all people damaged by war, all wars, all people,
    even though the red poppy has also become a psychological operation (psyop) co-opted by warmongers.
    Those of us who remember WW2 remember it as a war of self-defence, especially in Europe, and we who grew up in Allied Europe are grateful for the help from countries like Canada.
    Today, people fighting in self-defence are called terrorists and our soldiers are sent to kill them for reasons that have nothing to do with self-defence or freedom.
    Using the deaths of often idealistic soldiers to validate unjust war is as bad as the Nazi propaganda of WW2.

  176. Maurice RoseNovember 11, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    Laying Down Arms:

    On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, the Great Powers of the World signed the Armistice laying down arms after four years of the bloodiest war in history. That was 1918.

    Now, we call it Veteran’s Day.

    What caused the armistice was the refusal of soldiers to fight. They refused ‘to go over the top’ anymore. In Russia, France, England, Italy they refused to participate in the slaughter which had begun in 1914.

    What we learn from Armistice Day is that the soldier is the front line of the peace movement.

    Sailors and soldiers mutinied against the war, turning their arms not on so-called “enemies,” namely brother soldiers from across the world: instead, they turned their arms upon the officers who otherwise sent them to the butchery of the trenches or ordered them to a freezing death in battles at sea.

    In late October 1918 at Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, the home ports of the German fleet, the sailors refused the orders of their officers. Soldiers were brought in to force the sailors to obey. Instead the soldiers embraced their cause, “Frieden und Brot” or Peace and Bread.

  177. Rick AllenNovember 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    It has been said that resentment/hate/fear is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. It would seem then, that killing another person is an extreme response to that resentment/hate/fear that is held within us – and who do we think we are killing !?!
    When one expands this idea from the individual to the national level,
    I believe we have war.
    Einsein suggested that a problem cannot be solved on the level on which it is created. It’s a tall order to aim to meet life with love and this is the only level that will disolve the problem of war. No ifs ands or buts. We can only do it for ourselves. (By the way I am not a church-goer this is from MY heart.)
    My wish is peace for the hearts, minds and souls of all veterans, living and dead and all sentient beings everywhere.

  178. SimonneNovember 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    when I wrote Remembrance Day essays in school, the theme was always “Never again”! If we lose that theme, we are doomed to glorify war itself, as well as the soldiers who fought.

    These days (was it always so?), wars are fought over resources. Keeping people free is the packaging. To remove the roots of war, we need to ensure that everyone’s basic needs for food, shelter and dignity are met, and if we used the money that is spent waging war and maintaining the military machine, we could do that.

    These days, on Remembrance Day, I remember and celebrate all those brave people who are peace activists, peace makers, war protesters and war resisters, as well as all those who work all over the world to help meet the basic needs of everyone. These address the root causes of war, and they fight, suffer and die perhaps as often as soldiers. But since civilian casualties are not as celebrated as military ones, they are often forgotten, sometimes even hidden in shame because of their ideologies.

    Blessed are the Peacemakers. Blessed are those who work for the good of us all. I remember and celebrate you.

  179. Shelley WalkerNovember 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    I feel there should be a balance between commemorating/understanding what led to the sacrifices that have been made by men and women who went to war to defend freedom, and a hope and intention to find a way to deal with conflict without the use of violence. After our moment of silence this morning my 14-year-old daughter and I listened to Martin Luther Kings speech “I have a dream”. I still dream of a day when we will follow his path of non-violence to achieve our goals of a world that is free of oppression and human rights violations.

  180. Michael WolfishNovember 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

    I do believe Remembrance Day tends to glorify war instead of indicating that it is the worst of human activity that mankind undertakes. This can be done witout belittering the war veterans. The message should be that war must be abolished so that innocent men and women need not die for such terrible human activity. It snuffs out the lives of young men and women before they were able to see their chldren and their grandchildren grow. Ofcause, in todays wars it also kills inocent men and women of all ages.

  181. ML NeilsonNovember 11, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    I firmly believe that the phrase “LEST WE FORGET” is brilliant but very manipulative preying on our sense of guilt and compassion for our fellow human beings who died so that we can enjoy our freedom!

    “LEST WE FORGET” will never be associated with NEVER FORGET THAT WAR DOES NOT PROMOTE PEACE! IT WILL NEVER BE ASSOCIATED WITH ALLOWING OTHER COUNTRIES TO LIVE THE WAY THEY WANT IN PEACE FREE FROM INVASION FOR ANY REASON! “LEST WE FORGET” promotes hatred-don’t forget you might have an enemy!Never forget it’s OKAY to kill your enemy!Never forget your entire life to be prepared to fight an enemy. Never forget to pass this message to YOUR next generation that an enemy and hatred of them is ok. It can be justified because we are defending our country, our livestyle, our freedom.

    I for one, am waiting for the day in our so called CIVILIZED SOCIETY, where there will be a MEDAL/HONOR/A DAY/ in which there is a CELEBRATION to the country who PROMOTES PEACE AND ALLOWING—LIVE & LET LIVE,to all COUNTRIES.


  182. Melissa SpencerNovember 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    Ultimately it is up to us as individuals to decide what Remembrance Day means to us. I for example honour the sacrifice made by our soldiers in any conflict but question the need for it. I am sad not so much for the deaths of our men and women during war but the fact that there was a supposed need for them to make those sacrifices. I think too often we as a species feel the need to fight to make our points known and felt and that often times many of these conflicts could be resolved through many other means. I am not saying that the extreme oppression that was in place during World War 2 could have been resolved through talks and sanctions but that now in the 21st century the nature of war and conflict has changed. To me the current conflicts seem to be more about who is more right in their ideologies and policies and who has the resources that other nations or regimes need. We need to appreciate and remember the sacrifices made by those who have gone before but I truly feel that what they were fighting for was a world that no longer required war to sort out it’s problems but a world where those who have issues could discuss and come to an understanding without armed conflict. I don’t think we have learned from our mistakes as a species in regards to war. For me that is what having a national day of remembrance is all about; remember the past and the sacrifices but strive to create a world where we will no longer need them.

  183. Caroline BradfieldNovember 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    I, for one, think of peace, compassion, and love on Remembrance Day. Lest we forget.

  184. Mama DNovember 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    WE have to word our response in a way that it is very clear we are respectful of those who are Afganistan and their familes. WE have to be clear that it is war and war is violent and it is about money. Myself and my firends do that and we remember the billions of people who die from poverty and lack of care and those who live lives of incredibale suffering for the same economic reasons – capitalism sucks the life out of everything and everyone.

    True change begins within!!!

  185. Elizabeth SeatonNovember 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    Thank you for raising this question. I too have noticed the increase of war discourse in the mediation of Remembrance Day. I have actually seen the word ‘warrior’ used in place of ‘veteran’ for Remembrance Day, which I find repugnant in its connotations, and disrespectful in the way it aligns veterans with mercenaries (or ‘contractors’, as they are called in the U.S.). I am also distressed by the equation of NATO’s occupation in Afghanistan with the Second and First World Wars. My father fought in the Pacific Theatre in WWII and he always considered his life-long campaign for peace to be his ultimate patriotic duty.

  186. Davvid GrantNovember 11, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    It is true that we have to remember the past, but often we learn a very jingoistic past. Do we remember the past with all of the complexity or what we want to remember. I do think Remembrance Day emphasizes war more than peace which I why I cannot participate in any of the ceremonies.

  187. KathleenNovember 11, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Remembrance Day events should focus on the suffering and horror of war and the terrible price paid by the combatants on all sides, and their families, as well as by the millions of civilians whose lives are destroyed by war. Remembrance Day events should be an opportunity to recognize the price paid by so many and to make a commitment to work for peace so as to prevent further lives being destroyed. Instead, I notice a big increase in glorifying and sentimentalizing war with the underlying message that our side is the cause of righteousness and that on the other side are the forces of evil that must be destroyed. The Canadian Dept. of Defense (around the world, it is always called the Dept. of Defense, not the Dept. of War) is now giving $ millions of our money to glorify war. The CBC constantly glorifies war. Do we really believe that we have not had enough war and that we need to do more to glorify war? If we’re going to glorify anything, I think we should glorify peace.

  188. J. MillerNovember 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm #

    I’m so happy to see so many of these comments, and I had no idea the white poppy went that far back. I used to squirm even as a kid at Remembrance Day ceremonies.
    Acknowledging the brave sincerity of those who fought tyranny and true horrors such as the Nazis has slid sadly into glorifying the ‘honour’ of war. The language and the emphasis must change – from validating ‘heroism’ to regretting and compensating for the error that causes so many to suffer needlessly.
    Perhaps it could be renamed Amendments Day instead.

  189. Dale DewarNovember 11, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

    It was cold and windy. I was near the National Art Centre where Oscar Peterson jazz poured into the street and into my left ear – into the right ear came the military songs, and the guns salutes. Not once was the word “peace” used from the podium.

    Lots of heart-wrenching advertising for the military as the jets which use enough gas in one hour to power a car for two years flew over.

    Stayed for the misunderstood white poppy ceremony. Perhaps it is misplaced on this “glory to war” day.

  190. Don WilsonNovember 11, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Tagically, I sense that Remembrance Day is trending increasingly to the celebration of war as politicians succumb to the temptation to use the occasion to justify kanada’s continuing support of amerika’s imperial designs. I hate what amerika is doing in Afghanistan, as much as I hated what that country did to Vietnam, and that we are the lap-dog of the warmongers sickens me. Too pseudo-commie, old timey jingoistic? Perhaps. But, unfortunately, true. I am repelled by the path kanada is travelling, and, in that ours is a voluntary military, I have not much sympathy for those who have allowed themselves to be the tools of amerikan aggression. Sorry if this hurts on a day which reminds us of the stupidity of war. I’m out of line. Again. Where can I get a white poppy?

  191. MarshallNovember 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Remembrance Day should be only about honoring the people who lay their lives on the line in defending our rights to live in a free and democratic society. They should not be held politically accountable for the decisions made by the government of the day.
    If we feel that the war they’re fighting on our behalf is wrong or unjust, then the politicians we elect must be held accountable for sending them into harm’s way. In essence we are judging them for the actions of our politicians by denying them a day of respect as an honor for making such a huge sacrifice.

  192. Anne MilesNovember 11, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    I’ve been in a quandary about Remembrance Day for years. I wanted to honour the fallen without being perceived as honouring war. This year I found out about the White Poppy for Peace campaign. This was actually started in the 1930’s by women who had lost loved ones in W.W.I, but I’d never heard of it till now. Evidently some Legion somewhere got upset about it lately–I don’t see why!

    I was told some people wear both white and red poppies, so that is what I did. But I still felt too intimidated to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony wearing the white poppy, even with the red one–so I don’t know if they are glorifying war or not.

  193. Aragorn KlockarsNovember 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    In my youth I was opposed to all physical conflict and war was foremost of them; involving myself in anti-nuke movement when that was “in” for example. Even though my grandfather was an instrument serving in the Canadian Navy and I respected him for that, I still had a hard time celebrating Remembrance Day with its connection to and seeming celebration of war but we were indoctrinated to do it so I conformed.
    Now I have a more rounded stance. My opposition to war has not change but I do grudgingly accept its necessity in some instances. I do feel that most cases soldiers give up their humanity to fight our wars. I do not think it should be underestimated the sacrifice they have made and it is the responsibility of Canada to appropriately honour them. I feel political expedience has gotten in the way of fair and decent treatment, at this time by the Conservatives, of veterans and returning soldiers, for one because they are not in the immediate field of political dealings. Do not they understand that by not dealing earnestly with this responsibility, the government is compromising the decency of Canada and is relegating this “annoyance” to the back burner that will come back to haunt us, or do they care?
    I honour those who did and do fight in good faith on our behalf and feel Canada (TM) needs to do more to honour them.

  194. Laura SavinkoffNovember 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    The White Poppy Campaign is great at highlighting the need for peaceful resolutions to conflict. But is it enough? I come from a long line of people who stood up and destroyed all their weapons in 1895 as a public statemnt in oppostion to all violence and abuse of which War is the ulitmate expression. We have continued to stand up and speak and act to help establish a world where peace and harmony through non-violent action and addressing the inequality and destructive attitudes of our global family are paramount. The occassional voicing of the need for peace and harmony is great but it must permeate all facets of our life; it must be our mantra every day, every minute of every day. Our daily actions speak much louder than any words or occassional actions could. We must look at the root causes of violence, abuse, force, the fear of force and/or conflict eminate from and then deal with them in a constructive, creative, just and equal way. Too often we forget that the victims of war are every one of us, that the children are the ones who suffer the most from no act or fault of their own and then grow up to repeat the mistakes of their parents and grandparents. It is up to each one of us to make a conscious decison to stop the killing and destruction, to stop the drive for superiority and power and control and then live accordingly. Are we up to it? Some of us are and do our very best to do so, but we must not give up the struggle to work on a daily basis to build, to educate, to create the critical mass that will turn the tide. It is possible, my brothers and sisters. The basic problem is that true peace and harmony has not been consistently lived because the idea of ‘them and us’ persist and all this is based in fear that something will be taken away from us. We need to change our way of thinking to one of giving and sharing all the bounty that The Creator and Mother Earth provide rather than hoarding that bounty only for the chosen few. It is up to each one of us! Are we up for the challenge, my friends? I know many who have worked and will continue to work towards that goal of a world of peace and harmony with social, economic and environmental justice and equality. Thank you to all those who work and do and act and those who will in the future. We are all one.

  195. Ellie O'DayNovember 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    I’ve been wearing the same White Peace Poppy for 3 years, because I can’t find anyone selling them since. This week a number of people asked me about it and where to get one, even at Diwali celebrations in Vancouver. When I explain it is to acknowledge the civilians killed in the name of war – and the latest stat I heard was that in the Great Wars, 1 out of 10 casualties was civilian; today 9 out of 10 are civilians – they really would choose to wear one. We might think about a real campaign around Peace Poppies.

  196. Don MitchellNovember 11, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    I agree with many comments already made about the need to broaden the message of Remembrance Day to focus on peace and remember the civilian victims of war, not just the soldiers. I’m always torn about participating in the local event as it becomes increasingly dominated by military commentators and glorification of the current invasion in Afghanistan. I did attend the local service this morning and among the wreath presenters was a U.S. Air Force captain to represent foreign troops. I suspect he was flown in es[ecially for this event but I don’t know that for certain.

    The national media gives inordinate coverage to Canadian Military spokespersons and military historians who are eager to defend and justify the current Afghanistan mission.

  197. liz foxNovember 11, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    I fully agree. For the last 10 years or so since we more or less abandoned our peacekeeping role and became more of a “warfighting machine”(how I hate that term!) alongside the US we have tended to glorify our veterans and make remembering a remembering of their glorious sacrifice rather than remembering how awful war is and using that remembrance to discourage us from getting into more wars which I thought was the original meaning of “lest we forget”

  198. V.M.November 11, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    Wars are the most profitable business on Earth. Remembrance Day focuses attention on the courage of those who have served, and that’s fine, but that focus also distracts us from thinking about why the war happened in the first place. Many wars are started with false flag operations intended to arouse a nation’s “righteous anger”. What are the real goals of those who convinced our loved ones to enlist? Until people understand how manipulated we are by those in power, we’ll continue to sacrifice lives to their agenda.

    See: Not a Conspiracy Theory by Donald Gutstein, just one of many books issuing a wake-up call about the state of our democracy. See also

  199. AnonymousNovember 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    Rememberance Day includes both for me. While I wear a white poppy because white symbolizes PEACE for me, I don’t object to others wearing
    the red poppy. Peace is ultimately the goal …. May PEACE SOON BECOME

  200. echreptykNovember 11, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Below you will find a link to Heidi Verheul’s interview with CBC Maritime Noon where she discusses the controversial white poppy. Her interview starts about ten minutes into the vetran story.

  201. Renzo ZanchettaNovember 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    The fallen get plenty of lip service as do returning vets. What they don’t get is the help they need to adjust. Were is the respect, or do you only get that when you are dead.
    The talk is about war and fighting not about a war to end all wars. Why do we fight and why are we not fighting for peace.
    When questioning the ‘why’ we are made to feel unpatriotic as in not supporting the troops. Twisted truth of a hijacked debate.
    Honor the sacrifice by ending wars.

  202. frank lehmannNovember 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    Hi, I lived through the 2 nd worldwar in germany and I remember a lot, not many of todays politicians seem to remember anything, for you warhawks, study up on your history and perhaps put some more effort into remembering how to work for peace, of course there is always more glory and profit in military engagements! What a great country we could have if we didn’t have to be lackeys to some superpowers. Let’s hope some day we will have some leadership intelligent enough to see the light and work for PEACE.

  203. Mary CarlisleNovember 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    While I feel tremendous sadness for all those who have died and for their loved ones, I am never too far from feeling anger about the glorification of war that underlies much of the rhetoric, both spoken and written, that we are exposed to each Remembrance Day.

    My hope is, and I often fear it will never be realized, is that warfare will come to be seen as an obsolete way of solving our differences. The cost of war in human, material, and environmental terms is immeasureable and it is time for our civilization to call a halt to this dreadful waste.

  204. Gary MagwoodNovember 11, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    Sadly, we continue to glorify war and the “exploits” of the men and women who took up arms to, ostensibly, protect our freedom. To a large extent, particularly younger citizens, signed up for an adventure, or to get out of small towns and cities or to relieve the boredom of unemployment. Their reasons are reflected by their comments and stories when interviewed by the media.

    Recruits are subjected to extensive brainwashing and nationalistic hyperbole to justify their training to kill other human beings. What we keep hearing is how their sacrifices, as reflected by the majority of comments from returning Afghanistan vets, are for the well being of the local population and to “keep our way of life safe.”

    So governments dispatch the youngest and strongest to “correct” the misjudgments and/or inappropriate decisions arrived at by politicians and leaders to kill or be killed. Even worse, the huge number of returning “protectors of our liberty,” having suffered traumatic physical and emotional damage, are then deprived of the necessary services, financial assistance and guidance required to re-adjust to civilian life. This from the same government that sent them into harm’s way in the first place.

    I find it hard to “celebrate” their sacrifices. I do, however, honour their personal beliefs and convictions that they are trying and dying to make a difference in the world.

    Surely peace is much easier to create and maintain than continuous conflict.

    Gary Magwood

    Gary Magwood

  205. Shirley BushNovember 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    It should most emphatically not become a holiday! There should be total one minute silence everywhere throughout the city, a remembrance of sacrifice of lives in order to have peace. Further, I believe that we should have a federal Ministry of Peace and for every dollar allocated to defence spending, an equal amount devoted to promoting peace in every way possible, from untied foreign aid to education of youngsters about past wars, even visits to European war cemeteries. The Netherlands, in particular, teach children the folly of war, have them tending the cemeteries and promote peace. So do the veterans who visit schools here to talk about their experiences. I have never heard of one claiming that war was a worthwhile pursuit of glory or happiness.

  206. rubyNovember 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    i believe the gatherings help people to grieve the loss of their loved ones. i think it’s for them. and yes, the focus is on the refrain about those giving their lives for our freedom…well, is the world safer?
    i belive the enemy is within and we project that outward. time to make peace internally so that it can manifest externally. i was not going to attend because i did not want to feed ‘the worthiness of war’…however, i saw myself going sending out love to the world. i did hear the word peace mentioned a few times and that we come to that day where we don’t need soldiers…they were more people than in the past i heard a woman say. and it could be because we are in many wars it ‘seems’. and our country’s government is increasing the militarization of our country. they are great emulators of the u.s.a. and want to see our country integrate with the american way of life…creating wars. well, God help us all. let’s start in our homes…and stop terrorizing ourselves with television, buying into the fear mongering, busyness, materialism…etc.
    happy 11:11. there are many people on the planet who are using this day as a positive marker and are meditating on love and light.

  207. Diana van EykNovember 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    I’m always uncomfortable with Remembrance Day, because people make a tribute whether to war or peace, and feel like they’re off the hook. I feel we need to be engaged citizens all year round — to create the kind of societies and world we want.

  208. Lloyd LitkeNovember 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    The push to get more people involved with Remembrance Day goes hand-in-hand with the push to get our young people into the Canadian armed forces. Our government is using this very special day – and Veterans Week – as a propaganda tool to impress upon our children the tragic and fatally flawed notion that war is the answer. The Conservative government of Mr. Harper would love us to become a militaristic and aggressive nation, but that is NOT the Canadian tradition. Let us never forget that our fathers and grandfathers died in battle so that we could live freely in peace!

  209. Marvin HaaveNovember 11, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

    I’ve been thinking much lately about the tragedy of war and why it is that we humans haven’t moved beyond the need to harm and destroy one another. I believe that heavily armed countries attract more “enemies” and are more vulnerable than unarmed ones.

    I think its time for Canada to consider keeping only a small armed force, to be used only for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance in civil emergencies.

    We certainly don’t need greater war materials or more soldiers. The best way to honour our troops is to bring them to safety NOW.

  210. SteveNovember 11, 2010 at 1:55 pm #

    Perhaps the idea of wearing a white poppy with a peace pin in the middle will honour the Veterans and remind us what it is all about.

    I am sad that we are involved in Afghanistan. Disappointed in governments that send our young soldiers into harms way, in a conflict that is not appropriate for Canadians to be involved in.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is lots of stuff going on in Afghanistan to be upset over; there are countless injustices happening all over the world. We just can’t send our children off to die in other peoples fights. Isn’t that what the UN is supposed to do?

    Support our soldiers on November 11th, and every other day of the year, and hold those politicians accountable that would put their lives unnecessarily at risk. Shame on the Conservatives and Liberals and kick them out of office ASAP.

    Bring our bothers and sisters, mothers and fathers home. That would truly show our respect for them.

  211. JanNovember 11, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    I absolutely HATE war. I never buy the poppies for Remembrance Day, as I can’t stand the connection to war. I often feel guilty because everyone else is buying them. I know that I am supposed to feel gratitude for the freedom that was fought for, but it is so far removed from me, and the whole Remembrance Day thing becomes a symbol of war to me (which I abhor). I would prefer that the approach was one of an appreciation of peace, and if the money for poppies went to agencies that work on peace.

  212. Frank W TaylorNovember 11, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    I stongly feal that we shoud remember both the veterins & the need for peace. Have been trying to find the white poppy but to no avail! Would like to wear both this Rememerance Day. Have a daughter serving at present in Canadian Forces & very proud of what she has done for our country. She served in both Africa, & Bosnia & was scheduled to go to Afganistan but things changed for her work. Am VERY proud of her!!!!!!

  213. echreptykNovember 11, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Hello Steven; Thank you for writing this letter. In Canada today we no longer have the Department of Defense; instead it is the Department of Offence.

    The F 35 aircraft purchase is but one example of this reality.

    Best regards from Erik

  214. Janet HudginsNovember 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm #

    None of the wars Canada has been coerced into by England, and recently the US, have been necessary (including WWII). There is nothing to claim great achievement for in any war, but a great deal for those who are able to achieve peace, that which we never hear about.
    We seem to be utterly dense about the endless history of war that men have heavily indulged in with the propaganda of excellence of testosterone. And they go back for another one, or else, perhaps in hopes of making the first one right. And even when they are abandoned by the very government that talked them into fighting, often for god knows what, men, and now women, the next generation, go back into the fray again and again.
    Leaders know they can get them to do it, profiteers wait and pounce, for the obscenity of war.

  215. echreptykNovember 11, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    At our church’s Remembrance service, I used the two minutes silence to remember those who died on both sides of World War II.

    Peace is not just the absence of war. Properly used, it means good-will among the great powers – good will that would make war between them unthinkable.

    Don Ewing

  216. Victoria FablingNovember 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    I am just sad. My father was an officer and a gentleman who fought in India. He was given so much free booze and praise for being a good old chap that ended up numb to knowing how to deal with the fact that war kills people! and that being drinking too much kills you too – and it did! My wish today is that would-be soldiers change their minds en masse and decide “No! I will not be part of a political machine. I stand for peace”

  217. Sharon FraserNovember 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    I appreciate this piece and many of the comments. I’m glad to know there are people thinking this way because we are so often discouraged from speaking out.

    Earlier today, I published some similar thoughts on my website. You can read them at:

  218. echreptykNovember 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    Hi! I stayed home, turned on the radio CBC One at 11 a.m., stood for the 2 minutes of silence and the piper and then turned it off because I was in the midst of reading all these comments. I bought a red poppy in the morning and I’d lost it by lunch time. I remember all the A.A. talks I’ve heard over the 32 years from Veterans who were alcoholic. I remember the soldiers on all sides as well as all of the civilians who have died. May we learn from our past and promote PEACE. Jean

  219. echreptykNovember 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    Remembrance Day, 2010 – Peter Davison
    St. Augustine of Hippo described evil as absence or emptiness. The worst of criminals are characterised by a lack of feeling, by a chilling sense that no real humanity dwells within them. When we look into their eyes we see no light, and feel we have stared into the heart of darkness. Earlier this year, Maclean’s magazine reported a widespread resurgence of neo-Nazism. But Hitler’s autobiography “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”) is a shallow piece of work. His power lay in persuading his followers to lay aside their own humanity while dehumanising Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and all persons labelled “deficient”. War is a state of collective insanity in which we dehumanise one another, and sacrifice truth to the distortions of wilful propaganda.
    Today we remember the horrors of war, and particularly the millions of casualties who lie “between the crosses row on row” or in the terrible anonymity of mass graves hidden from sight and memory. We are inclined to forget, however, the walking wounded who populate the streets of our cities – who find brief respite from the pain of their emptiness in a variety of addictions. We forget them because they are more like us than we would like to believe – simply the more visible casualties of our addictive society which thrives on making us feel empty, and offers us salvation by consumption – which is no salvation at all, but a frantic search for one temporary fix after another. They include veterans whose war stories continue to haunt them, and men and women so badly abused physically, sexually and emotionally as children or adults that they have come to believe themselves worthless. In his terrible, but beautiful book, “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts”, Dr. Gabor Maté tells the stories of some of them, and reminds us they are in all too many ways mirrors of ourselves.
    For the truth is that we continue to be at war, not only in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but in domestic violence, in the abuse or neglect of too many children, in the self-hatred which characterises so many of us and denies us the ability to form healthy relationships. The crisis of our age is primarily spiritual, for we have failed to acknowledge our own God-given dignity and worth, and have not honoured the spark of the divine in those we blame and shame, and drive into the exile of homelessness, addiction, or prison.
    If we think about it for any length of time, we come to see we are all prisoners of war, and of the dark side of our own technology and bureaucratic efficiency – reduced to numbers, labelled and consigned to confined spaces, regarded as disposable in the name of some ideology or other. And yet, as in Auschwitz, or Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, or (yes!) on the streets of Vernon, we see an unquenchable desire for recognition and meaning – for that “something more” which is not the latest “must have” gadget, or overeating or drinking or shooting up, but discovering we are human beings after all, loved not for what we do, but simply for who we are; free to love one another, and to celebrate both our uniqueness and our oneness in life-giving community. In this remembering may we rediscover ourselves and one another, and dare to dream and build a better world.

  220. vancouver Isl.November 11, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    I too think it is a recruitment operation now more than a day to honour and remember our fallen and all those who have died in war around the world as well. As a young girl “never again” used to be stressed over and over again. We don’t hear this anymore because war is a tool of the arms industry & the financial institutions. They could care less about those killed or maimed for life. All they care about is the obscene amounts of money they are making and this is also what our government is concerned about too…..helping the arms industry and the big financial institutions. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones in war but as a senior I now know Canadian soldiers fought for a lie as did all the other soldiers in WW II no matter which side they were fighting on. American and European aristocracy funded both sides of the war and supplied arms to both sides. None-the-less, our soldiers deserve our honour and respect. It was not their fault that they were lied to anymore than it is the fault of our young soldiers today who are also being lied to about what the wars in the Middle East are all about. Keep in mind that you have a government & media who manipulate you into believing very destructive lies. We need to see these people for what they really are. Lying sociopaths .

  221. HarmonyNovember 11, 2010 at 1:39 pm #

    My feelings were about the same as the author. I honor the men and women who gave their lives in the belief that they were doing the right thing. HOwever upon investigation one finds that all wars since the battle of Waterloo have been created by those who would profit from them. As Rothchilds mother said” if my son didn’t want a war their wouldn’t be one”. So our loved one’s die so that the few can profit as both sides of any war are backed by the same “for profit” corporations and power brokers. If our governments cared about the men and women they send out to die for their profits even a little they would at least take care of those that survive when they return. Instead they turn their backs on them and watch them suffer with their physical problems and commit suicide over emotional health probems instead of helping them. Being a soldier myself the whole system makes me quite ill as our returning soldiers have to beg and fight the government for monetary scraps from the table of the government coffers.

  222. Erik PauletNovember 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    harper and his ilk will use the memory of the fallen to their own ends.
    The military today is a poverty draft.

  223. JeaneneNovember 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    Our educational system needs to have as part of the general curriculum an emphasis and awareness of the parallels between children and adults not being able to resolve their own personal problems with their siblings, friends, relatives, etc. without resorting to violence and how that behaviour is exactly how wars and world conflicts begin and continue.
    Children need to be consistently taught how to differ with others and accord others respect and dignity in the process of negotiation and compromise.
    If they see violence being used to solve problems between countries, if they continuously see violence portrayed on TV programs, if they see bullies succeeding in becoming heroes, if they witness their parents being abusive and disrespectful to each other, if they see people in authority as their enemy, how can we ever expect to have world peace???

  224. Joanne BanksNovember 11, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    I have always thought of November 11 as a time when we should be promoting peace. I abhor the money that is going into the war machine and making arms dealers obscenely rich. As well tax dollars should not be used to further conflict, destroy our planet’s finite resources and to decimate families and cultures . I never voted for that. We should choose instead to combat hunger, disease, homelessness, to provide safe clean water and schools. Look who ends up on the front lines of these conflicts. All these child soldiers and young people being killed and for what. They return wounded or traumatized and are not supported. Because my grandfather and uncles were in WWI and WWII,I honor them for that but I have taught my children and grandchildren to pursue the road to peace. WAR is not the way to peace.

  225. Judith CarderNovember 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    After talking with my 100-year old father who was a veteran of World War II, no one would think of Nov. 11 as a memorial to war. It is a memorial to sacrifice for believing in good over evil, justice and freedom of choice over tyranny & dictatorship in the hopes of a better world for all which we equate with “peace”. However, it must be an active peace, with people caring for one another as well as the earth that sustains us. Recognition of the rights and respect for all living things is a daily activity or “battle” which done peaceful and righteously will “put an end to war”. My father now works to save giant trees, forests and the natural wonders of world.

    Perhaps Nov. 11 should be a day of remembrance for those who took and take responsibility for working towards an altruistic good.

  226. MichaelNovember 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

    I’m having a hard time with wearing a poppy this Remembrance Day. I have always considered Remembrance Day the most important and universal day on the holiday calendar. People of all countries races and religions can observe this day with equal reverence. War knows no boundaries of any kind. Now our leaders are hammering the war drums more and more each year and using remembrance day more as a recruitment opportunity than an reminder that war is the ultimate crime. I’m disgusted with this state of affairs. I don’t see any real leaders in the political arena in this area. The non stop slaughter has to end. I wore a poppy anyway.


  227. Doug AlderNovember 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    It has become a tool of the right wing to support the military industrial complex ever growing need for more conflicts through which to sell their murder. In his Odes (III.2.13) Horace wrote “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country” Wilfred Owen got it right In his Poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” when at the end of the poem he says

    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
    To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.(15)

  228. Alfredo LouroNovember 11, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    Remembrance Day can be about peace, if we make it so. I intend to wear my peace badge today, and next year I hope to get a white poppy.

    I have a serious problem with supporting the Canadian Legion, which has repeatedly displayed racist tendencies, and anger at being associated with the idea of peace. I also think Remebrance Day has become a celebration of war, and I don’t like it.

  229. Jain C. KuranyNovember 11, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    There are 365 days every year to remember peace. This is one of them. It is most important that we look at war and what happens to those who are involved on the front lines and who have survived whether they are those of the armed forces or the populations that just happened to live there. This is a day to look back on what we have done to ourselves and many other people and to honour all of them. In that way perhaps we can learn that war doesn’t solve anything–that most countries in this world are fighting against themselves and then everyone else. Peace begins at birth, and if you believe in re-incarnation-getting better at peace in each lifetime. I feel that the real message of Remembrance Day is to learn from our mistakes and look for different choices. To respect the choices of others and to celebrate the diversity of life in all it forms. So no, I do not believe that this day is too much about war. It is exactly what it needs to be–a remembrance and a reminder. Jain Kurany

  230. Carl RosenbergNovember 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    I am grateful to for opening up this discussion. I agree that Remembrance Day has become about glorifying war and the military more than either promoting peace or even remembering the war dead. When someone like Harper calls on us to remember the sacrifices made, there is an underlying implication that these sacrifices were always for noble goals. It becomes difficult to ask why young men are sent to fight and die, which is often not for freedom and democracy but to defend economic and imperial interests.

    Even in “just” wars, such as WWII, where “our side” was clearly fighting against an aggressor, it becomes hard to point out that Allied forces (allowing for all the differences between the Allies and Axis) may also have committed war crimes, as in Dresden and Hamburg and Hiroshima. A good example is the pressure exerted on the Canadian War Museum by veterans’ organizations to tone down the wording on exhibits alluding to the bombing of Dresden.

    Carl Rosenberg
    Vancouver, BC

  231. P. CocksedgeNovember 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    I watched Rosemary Barton interview a WWII navigator during this morning’s services on Parliament Hill. He told about his plane being hit and the crew’s attempt to parachute out. That only works if the plane is flying flat. This one wasn’t. The propeller cut off his leg; but he also watched as it removed the heads of his fellow airmen. It is so wonderful that he managed to survive, but the memory must be almost unbearable. Barton commented with a big smile about what a great story it was. Story?! Is that what death and destruction have become? Just another story to entertain? What are our children learning and thinking? It is time to stop the insanity. It may seem an impossibility, but it is long past time for citizens to stop thinking in terms of them and us. It is one finite world and there are just us on it. Expose the wealthy military industrial complex and the real motives for pursuing war!

  232. john dickieNovember 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    By shipping our children over to Afghanistan, for reasons that have never fully convinced me I absolutely believe that we have learned nothing. Remembrance day is for us to reflect on the insanity of war and to keep it from happening again. We’ve failed.

  233. Josiane ochmanNovember 11, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    I do believe that the original meaning of Remembrance Day is gradually being eroded. The idea behind it was to remember about war so countries could work towards peace and the maintenance of peace. I was struck about how little coverage was provided to the war in Afghanistan in the recent elections in the U.S. War, that ongoing war and the continuing debilitating effects of the war in Iraq did not even merit a mention, not even in passing. With respect to Canada we are now going to purchase extremely costly F-35 stealth fighters which Canada does not really need unless it intends to stay in the “war games business” for a very long time. It’s a sad commentary on our times.

  234. Evelyn SchulerNovember 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm #

    I have often thought, that if the first world war vets had been honest and talked of the war and how horrible, it was for them, they could have prevented the second world war. Its time the fighting soldier,
    woke up and admitted, that he was in the firing line, while the people that put him there, were enjoying life at home.

  235. Bev Muendel-AtherstoneNovember 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    It is an oxymoron to think that wars lead to peace. We must see war itself as an ill which breeds hatred and is self perpetuating. We need to commemorate those who fought in the war believing at the time that it was the right thing to do. At the same time we must do all in our power to work on negotiations, communication, and empathy with one another to work toward a world of peace. Glorification of war just leads to more wars.

  236. Harold ShusterNovember 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    I am planning on using this Remembrance Day to remember the many people who have touched my life, some in big ways like my mother and father and others who have come in and out of my life for various unknown reasons: Marj, Bruce, Bonnie, Twilla. I refuse to participate in the official day because I believe it has become a facade behind which lies wars of aggression over land and access to valuable natural resources, where innocent people are used as fodder for multi-national corporations in their never ending quest for profits. Our Prime Minister stands proud and spews forth empty platitudes about the brave men and women whose lives have been sacrificed in the defence of our “democracy” and way of life. When in fact the policies of our Prime Minister pose some of the biggest treats to our democracy and way of life we have ever faced.

  237. Liz BallNovember 11, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    It feels to me that Remembrance Day is much too much about war, and has become increasingly so with the awful ongoing situation in Afghanistan. I can not participate in the cenotaph or other similar activities, because I feel I’m being manipulated into thinking that war is a patriotic act. Instead I meditate on peace, on bringing hope and comfort to those who are suffering from the industrial war machine, not just in Afghanistan, but in too many countries, whose weapons “we” supply. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…”

  238. Shari NelsonNovember 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Just wanted you to know that at our school here in Pickering, ON, the emphasis is on peace. We respect the choices and the actions of those who have gone before, but it is also improtant to remember that they made those sacrifices so that we all could live in peace. The phrase, “Never again!” still needs to be repeated until it is true.

  239. Andrew SerafinNovember 11, 2010 at 12:48 pm #

    In the original sense it was to commemorate the Victory, I think.
    I could be also for commemorate the pass away victims of the war.
    If so, adding new wars victims would not be without the minimum sense assuming the governments will take the responsibility for the victims on themselves. When we start considering if the newer wars were really righteous and who actually is responsible for the newer wars soldiers deaths it begins for the government a problem.

    The governments think like that: “if we will convince the public the soldiers are heroes we will be morally clean for responsibility or doubts of our (government) decisions.

    However, the newer wars can not be combined with the historic WW I and WW II. These wars were fought in defense of our territories – against aggressors.
    The newer wars including the Korean War were fought outside, they were intervening acts. This way or other this is not so obviously clean events.

    I would not combine the two categories of wars. Also I would not make any state holiday for these intervention war. They were fought for a theoretical, but sometimes only theoretical defense of democracy, with assumption that these interventions prevent worst conflicts. As always the money powers use noble assumption to switch for their dirty interest.

    In addition many soldiers were the professional soldiers, they were paid for it and that is end – no celebration for professionals and servility.
    If they were from public conception they should be remembered as victims of their own governments in separate holiday. (In the case of Americans involved in WW I and WW II, they were from public conscriptions and Europeans, like myself, does not have doubts they were helping us in righteous war, as well I would not imagine an American who would see free America and Hitler Europe on one globe.)
    Governments do not look for excuse and celebrate present decisions!!! The history will judge you. Do not attempt to misrepresent your acts!!!! You also offend the heroes of WW I and WW II by yours propagandist intrusions.

  240. Judith FetterNovember 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    I have always had problems with the way Remembrance Day is handled, especially in the media. They do tend to want us to glorify war, although I do think that in recent years their coverage has been more measured.
    It troubles me that anyone who questions the war in Afghanistan is accused of not supporting the troops. I think we should use occasions like Remembrance Day to explore deeply and honestly the alternatives to war. I don’t think anyone who has ever been in a war would ever want to be in another one. We need to support our veterans, listen to their stories, and work hard to learn and teach non-violent ways of responding to threats and disagreements – at home and abroad.

  241. Sandra MichealsNovember 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    In my experience Rememberance Day has never been about peace. Never, only about remembering the war dead. Most of the dead are young men.
    We never talk about the civilian casualties, children, women only young men soldiers.

    It makes me sick. Nothing ever changes. Now they want to keep out troops on a so called training mission. If you say no to this you are unpatriotic in the Christian Right Wing vies.

    Sandra Micheals

  242. Maurice RoseNovember 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    “To you from failing hands we throw / The torch; be yours to hold it high”

    This is a cry for forgiveness. They failed to maintain the torch of Peace, and allowed war to hold sway. They now pass the Torch of Peace to future hands in order to learn from their mistakes, and not allow war to ever take place on our Earth ever again. Yes, “remember”. Remember well the lesson they had painfully learned. War is bad. Peace if preferred. Why do you think they called it “The Great War”, the “War, to end ‘all’ Wars”?

    “One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once ‘The Unnecessary War’.”

    Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965), Second World War (1948)

  243. Bob StuartNovember 11, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    I volunteered to help out at a Remembrance Day service 3 years ago, because it was advertised as honoring Canada’s Peacekeepers. When the Afghan casualties were included, I walked out in disgust.
    Harper has taken every opportunity to revise our history and glorify war. Even wearing a white poppy can lead to conflict.

  244. Mohamed AlliNovember 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    It is with great respect for those who fought for freedom from bondage we show respect on this day. There were many wars that were fought in the past, the greatest were Riligious wars that all religion fought to controle the minds of the human race, no one remembers those.

    The Americans support wars by selling weapons to peaceful countries that were never in any threat from anyone of their neighbours but were told that there may be emminent threat and by having these weapons will help to prevent wars. Today the Americans are in those same countries fighting those same citizens that they sold those weapons to in the name of democracy and at the same drawing in countries like England, Canada and other democratic Countries into a war that should never have been.

    We in Canada are a peaceful Nation build on true values and love for all, a Multicultural nation, that has always support peace and not WARS.
    “Less We Forget”, a true Phrase.

    Yes we must not forget our Men and Women who fought for our freedom and to protect us from those who felt that we should be slaves to them.



    The Americans have to stop supplying weapons to all countries that believe in peace and not force to buy.

    Peace to all. Believe in all religions and the Books that came with them.

  245. PearlAaronNovember 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    in the entire history of mankind there has only been 600 years where there has been no war. this shows we have been a ‘warlike’ people….and with that we’re going to ‘commemorate’ it. In order to lament it we need to keep working on changing our hearts and minds, and the hearts and minds of humanity — we need to be practising and teaching peace in schools,in our homes and communities. we need people like Ghandi in our higher places. The government controls our way of thinking by controlling our languate over war. E.G. if there’s a fire we send in firefighters, if there’s crime, we send in ‘crime fighters, if there’s a country who enjoys freedom, our government calls them freedom fighters’ because they don’t like a country to be free… they (gov’t) and trying to make that sound okay. War is about greed. Too much religion and not enough truth and love is also the cause of war.

  246. Richard PrestonNovember 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    Every time the name Royal Canadian Legion comes into view, I am sorry to admit that I see an image of some beer-soaked geezers trying for a late-life modicum of dignity by celebrating the violent deaths of others. I fantasize wearing my Korean Service Medal (winter of 1951-52, long before I knew anything about Quakers), and then remember that this fantasy is vanity in a confrontation with vanity. Who needs it?

  247. jeannie KaminsNovember 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.

  248. Ella T NojdNovember 11, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    I agree, enough of this glorification of war. In 21 century conflicts are still resolved like centuries ago. Let’s learn from the “civilizations” that vanished and concentrate on loving ouerslves and our neighbours. Sending young men to kill each other with more and more sofisticated weapons serves only the ones who make money out of it.

  249. W PearsonNovember 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    The militarization of our culture is increasingly problematic and a recent memo from the administration of my institution requiring the observation of Remembrance Day is but a small symbol of that. My grandfather fought in WWI, not willingly, but as an orphan who was forcibly enrolled in the army (in the regimental band, initially) at the age of 12. He was 14 when war broke out and although he wasn’t sent to the front until he was 16, he was invalided back to Britain before his 18th birthday. Shrapnel in his right arm cost him the use of it and pieces of it, migrating throughout his body and finally lodging in his inner ear and destroying his sense of balance, were eventually responsible for his death at the ripe age of 91. His stories of the war were always negative, about the stupidity of officers, the distaste he and his mates felt at being forced to kill people they saw as being equally unwilling soldiers on the other side, and the appalling conditions and wasteful loss of life.

    As we remember those who died for causes we think noble, we have to remember that many did not serve willingly and we have to think about the ways in which young men are convinced to fight. Conscription, of course, is a very straightforward way of turning peaceful men (and perhaps now women) into soldiers. But it is also the attitude of civilians, those who never put their lives on the line. How many young men — boys, really — signed up in WWI because a girl on the main street of their town presented them with a white feather: a public symbol of the belief that boys who didn’t sign up, for whatever reason, were merely cowards? The courage to fight in a distant war, in conditions unimaginable at home, is one thing, but so is the courage to face up to daily contempt and accusations of cowardice.

    As we remember those who died in WWI — men who died often for no more reason that the incompetence of their commanders — we need also to remember that there is great courage, too, in resisting war.

    I remember very clearly one of the mottoes of the peace movement during the Vietnam War: what if they gave a war and nobody came?

    Of course, it oversimplifies complex situations but its point remains. Wars can only happen if people — men, most often — are willing to fight them.

    The great motto of Remembrance Day used not to be about self-sacrifice for one’s country and a re-instatement of the idea that fighting wars is a noble and honourable activity. It used to be that the Great War was fought to end all wars. We know that it did not succeed in that, but turning Remembrance Day into a celebration of militarization is a travesty. We should remember the evils of war and the necessity to be brave enough to demand peace. I know that this, at least, is a sentiment of which my granfather would have approved.

  250. ken jonesNovember 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    yes, i concur. it is the same with all our culture, the need to keep war in the news. pump it up, and ignore the tremendous damage done to other countries and peoples. put a negative image on them, keep repeating it in the hopes to have our compliant population be onside. remembrance day is just another chance to keep it in the news, along with all the various battles in the two previous wars. i heard last night one vet worried that when they are gone who will keep the legions and therefore war alive. so it appears that once a soldier always one. when i grew up the word remembrance was more about remembering the horrors of war, not forgetting so this wouldnt happen again…wasnt it said…never again? but the empire must go on to garrison the whole world…war without end…its all propaganda as usual

  251. OVNovember 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm #

    Nov 11th has become a day to worship the industrial military complex and to make taboo any criticism of it. I was happy to see that the white poppy is starting to appear beside the red, the white poppy remembers all those that have died in war, the hundred fold innocent civilians as well as the soldiers. I’d also like to see more of the white rose campaign in recognition of the German war protesters that died during WWII.

  252. CarolineNovember 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

    We need to remember those that died in wars and remembrance should be the emphasis of the day – but not just the soldiers – we need to remember all the civilians who were the innocent victims of conflict. Perhaps if we spent the 2 minutes of silence contemplating the damage done to all of us by wars we might be more inclined to work harder for peaceful means of conflict resolution.

  253. micheleNovember 11, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    Oh dear Lord, please tell me why
    Why do all the children cry?
    Why can’t people understand
    That this (canada) is not a fighting land
    and Oh dear Lord, can you explain
    Why these people cry in pain
    or why the beauty, that was once there
    is now so ugly, burnt and bare
    oh why does all this have to be
    tell me Lord can’t you see
    Oh dear Lord, please tell me why

    Because greedy billionairs want more billions, simple.

  254. Karla HowardNovember 11, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    Remembrance day is about paying respects to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for freedom. However if you tour the war museum in Ottawa, there is a message on the way out which says “NEVER AGAIN “. Those are empty words. Well I’m mad !
    We are still at war, soldiers are still dying and big countries are bullying the smaller countries just to get to their non renewable natural resources. Please make it stop. It has to stop now.
    Politicians have their own greedy adgendas, corporations make huge profits but soldiers still die and it’s wrong wrong wrong. I wonder what peace on earth would really be like. Has any body got the guts to try it?

  255. GrahamNovember 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Remembrance Day is quite simply to remember and honour participants and victims of armed conflict. War is a political issue economically driven by the worst humanity has to offer. Remembrance Day honours individuals most impacted, and should not be sullied by political consideration. It’s about remembering and demonstrating respect for those who paid the price for very poor decisions, not for those who made them.

  256. Dominic (Mico) RasoNovember 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    The ultimate goal or objective of “remembering” should be to end ALL war!

  257. Phyllis ReeveNovember 11, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I find myself increasingly uncomfortable around November 11th. As a child during and immediately after WW II, I remember the occasion as very solemn, an interlude in the day, not a whole-day holiday. Everyone had lost family members. The feeling was that this must not happen again, that we must find a better way.
    Now I see the time being used as a way to recruit children, and maybe votes.
    And I wonder where the poppy money goes.
    I wear my Peace Symbol pendant, but do feel awkward.

  258. Paul ChislettNovember 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    Hi. Increasingly the media and their corporate patrons are using Remembrance Day as a marketing tool for the Canadian Forces. Our relationship with Remembrance Day is slowly shifting from a concentration on what happened in war to why wars happen, and this is critical.

    War is only inevitable when the way we organize ourselves politically and economically is undemocratic and unequal. We must resist conflating all wars with a sacrifice for our way of life, because our way of life depends on the rapid consumption of finite resources, and as a result more wars are inevitable – including the present “long war” against terror.

    Only by working for peace by way of confronting the lies told to us by cynical power elites, and working to change our political and economic reality will war become less likely.

    This year, instead of a poppy, I wore a button that stated “to remember is to work for peace” while stuffing change in Legion boxes wherever they were. Next year, I’ll wear a white poppy and the button while continuing as best I can to work for peace.

    Paul Chislett

  259. Marguerite BilodeauNovember 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    I think there are many mixed feelings about our dead soldiers. I think some mourn them and others adulate them.I think wars are useless in most situations and lives are taken away uselessly.,
    Toaday is a VERY SAD MEMORANCE DAY, because M. Harper has just announced that the Canadians will stay in Afghanistan till 2014.OUCH!
    How crueler can we get!
    In Peace
    Marguerite from Montreal

  260. Steve FerrisNovember 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm #

    Rememberance Day is a celebration of war, a bittersweet celebration for Canadians killed or mained in war. We extole bitterly fought victories as marks of achievement when we should be shouting, “Never more!” You don’t see the fools who cause wars, like Bush and company, sending their sons and daughters to defend so called freedoms. If Harper had his way, Canada would have joined the US in Iraq, spilling more blood, in pursuit of lies. Our role in the world should be peace makers and we should honour those who dedicate their lives to making peace, not those who embrace and celebrate the maining and killing of people.

  261. Michael NashNovember 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    I just came back from the ceremony in Hamilton, Ontario. For me, the overriding feeling I experience is gratitude for courage of those who answered their country’s call, whether the call was wise or foolish. I also use the time to take stock of the awful cost of war.

    I am aware that some speakers at these events sometimes use the occasion for current political purposes. I don’t like that, but I don’t let it erase my primary reason for going to the Remembrance Day ceremonies.

  262. Robert SancheNovember 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    I think it is very important to honour those who defended our way of life in the two great wars–though I do believe that the politicians have to co-opted Remembrance Day for partisan political reasons. WHEN WILL WE EVER LEARN THAT WE MUST MAKE PEACE INSTEAD OF WAR? As far as war is concerned: NEVER AGAIN resonates with me.

  263. georgeNovember 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    remembrance day is completely inadequate. It’s not educational. It amounts to a subtle glorification of the ‘old game’. Ultimately, it’s a deflection of the problem of inward revolution – also talked about but not genuinely pursued.

  264. Bill WallNovember 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    I’m choosing not to wear a red poppy this year for the simple reason that, despite all the claims to the contrary, it has increaingly come to symbolize support for militarism rather than sorrow and regret over the tragedy of war. As some have said, wearing the white poppy, of perhaps both red and white, might express the appropriante sentiment. One thing you can be certain of is that our veterans and politicians know the power of symbols, and most of them will stadfastly cling to the traditional militaristic ones while mouthing slogans about freedom and peace.

  265. Wilma WesselNovember 11, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Dear Ceasefire,
    I welcome the look back at our wars and the collection of the veteran’s stories. However, I think an emphasis on peace is sorely lacking. Reporting on Peace projects, Project Ploughshares, Monnonite Central Committee peace projects, and things many NGO’s do all year round would be beneficial.
    Thank you,

  266. Vic YandaNovember 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    Some historian said, “Those who forget the past may be doomed to repeat it.”
    For me, Remembrance Day is not about War itself. It is merely a chance for me to personally pause, reflect and show my respect, and thanks, to the millions of people who suffered and died in World War II as allied combatants while saving the world from the joint domination of National Socialist Germany and militant Imperial Japan. For me it is also a time to remember the other millions of innocent civilian victims of this ghastly time – those of the the Holocaust, Nanking, Manilla, Lidice, Warsaw, Oradour-sur-Glane and many more unnamed places. I do not pray for these deceased as I am a secular humanist. But I DO remember, and respect their memory.

    Please change your white poppy into a dove. And be selective and discriminating whenever you vote for a politician.

  267. Una CoghlanNovember 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    I have just watched the Remembrance Day celebrations in Ottawa.
    I am appalled that the idea of Peace was totally absent.
    We glorifed War.
    Una Coghlan

  268. Elizabeth RutherfordNovember 11, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    I don’t believe the ceremonies are more about war than peace. As long as the screens show those dear, sad old vets (my contemperaries), they are not glorifying war.
    For a more peaceful world we will have to have a political system which does something about the great industries which make and supply and promote arms and wars due to pure greed. From an 87 year old view, I don’t see much hope. ELR

  269. Ed. NapierNovember 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    Dear Steven,
    It seems to be more about war;but until the recent past, veterens of the two World Wars told peole how horrible war is. Its terrible how we never learn. World War 11, I believe was largely the result of the peace conference that ended World War1 and at the end of World War11, we expressed the hope expressed so well in the preamble to the UN: Never Again. The World would unite. Alas, the Cold War intervened and instead of creating a viable world economy, we built a military based economy based on the iron triangle of the Military Industrial Complex and now the US electors have rejected the timid but important movement toward peace and elected an exremeist House(for the most part) and «harper just announced that Canada will stay in Afghanistan to train troops. What credibility can we have as we support one side and instead of strugglieng via diplomacy to broker a peace with all the stake holders in Afghanistan and in the region. Peace to you Steven on this Nov 11 2010. Ed. Napier.

  270. Caitlin HicksNovember 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    It is important to remember, so that it DOESN’T HAPPEN AGAIN, (not so that little boys and girls who have not had the chance to have their lives stolen from them by participation in war can see it as a glory thing). Remembering say – we are sorry you lost your lives – not we thank you for losing your lives, what a hero you were. But acknowledge the reality of war — the one legged and one armed vets who must live the rest of their lives physically scarred – show us those people and their LIVING struggle; spend the money on them and on programs which promote the other as our brother, not our enemy. Iraq is a political war. Those who participated in it did the bidding of politicians. The same for Vietnam. It’s a TRAGEDY that they lost their lives. It’s a TRAGEDY that those millions of boys were sent out as cannon fodder in the first world war. They’re more victims than they are heroes. Get a grip on Remembrance Day — remember so that it doesn’t happen again – every time the politicians and big business want an opportunity to promote their careers, fatten their bank accounts with their conquest of oil . . . War is a tragedy and a crime not a stage for glory.

  271. carol harrisNovember 11, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    I’ve just listened to a choir of small children from James Strath elem. school in Peterborough, sing the amazing Ed McCurdy song, “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream” See link below, about 5 minutes in:

    This video sent me, in turn, to the Pete Seeger rendition of the song. A classic. Listen and enjoy on this Remembrance Day when we ought to reflect, indeed, on an end to the political – economic madness of War.


  272. Karen KingNovember 11, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    Today the add campaigns glorify, and romanticize WWI, WWII blending the wars of today with the glories of yesterday, which is propaganda.

    For years I refused to purchase poppies which leads people to believe it’s good to glorify the dead, all for a good cause visually supporting this murder machine.

    Yet I felt disrespectful that I did not wear a poppy to remember the sacrifices that were made by my family.

    I discovered Peace Pledge Union I will wear the white poppy that states clearly I will remember the sacrifices made but I promote peace.

    In England the White Poppy campaign has approached the veterans twice to sell both colours, they were refused.

    To me the refusal to sell both colours of poppy; therefore giving people the choice, promotes the support of war.

  273. AndrewNovember 11, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    The contemporary Canadian poet Christopher Levenson wrote this poem about Remembrance Day


    That time of year again: grieving relatives gather

    to wonder what might have been, as octogenarians

    shuffle towards the cenotaph. Will the line never end?

    Flanders Field, Ypres, Dieppe, — a hundred campaigns

    weigh down their chests. As dark suits, bomber jackets,

    explode in crimson, I turn away, refuse

    the importunate poppies, feeling shame

    that I must pass up these tokens, yet knowing

    it is not their sacrifice I reject, only

    the Pavlovian dogs of war that hounded them

    to early deaths. The drug of glory returns

    through flashbacks, stays in our system forever.

    Meanwhile across three continents

    a war that dare not speak its name injects

    action heroes into the jungles of

    Colombia or the Golden Triangle, strafing away

    from helicopter gun-ships, shooting up farmers

    who scratched out a meagre living from mountain coffee

    then switched to an instant cash crop,

    a little white dust, Eldorado

    for America’s grasping despair: war

    is the opiate of the politicians, a photo-op

    chance to look tough with ‘our boys’ up at the Front.

    And I who was never there should keep my peace but cannot:

    no less for me the shell rips open the dark.

    This night vision is mine too, goes over the top in my sleep,

    derelict veterans selling indulgences.

  274. Bob EwashenNovember 11, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    My friend asked me yesterday, are you going to the Memorial services? No, I said, I am a pacifist. So should we not commemorate the sacrifice of all those that died for us, he asked?
    I thought of my reply some time later, as is often the case. What people observe these days is the glory, the sacrifice, the courage and, the nobleness of dying in the cause of war, not the need for peace in the world. The white poppy is a true call for peace, and that is why that those who profit from war, be it through increasing there own power, justifying the arms industry, or satisfying their sense of nationalism are so upset and resentful of the white poppy. After all it only demonstrates the futility and sadness of war and it’s effects.

  275. Irene WattNovember 11, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Yes I agree that remembrance day seems more about celebrating war rather than peace. It seems Prime Minister Harper wishes to us to think that Canada’s contribution to the world is first & formost that of being a nation of warriors.

  276. Shane NestruckNovember 11, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    Remembrance DAY – Yeah Sure!

    I grew-up surrounded by my father’s War Amp. friends. I learned about being honest, hard-working, respectful, loyal and caring, from him and his friends. I also learned about thankfulness from those gentlemen… Rarely did I hear complaints about their lot in life, rather I got the impression that they considered themselves as the lucky ones.

    Most of those gentlemen grew up during the Great Depression and besides having lost friends and more than a decade of their youth to the war, they also lost hands, feet, arms and legs, sight, hearing etc. and instead had crutches canes and by today’s standards primitive prosthesis and sometimes even worse, many were young paraplegics doomed to wheel chairs. Of course nobody had a name for ‘post traumatic stress’ and any such problems were attributed to ‘weakness’ and character flaws in the afflicted,

    Being a child I had no understanding of the courage their every day lives demanded, and I took for granted the kindness, caring and time they had for us their children and all children that would reap the benefits of their sacrifices and most importantly, as a child I had no idea of the callous indifference our country’s leadership would further inflict on these gentlemen.

    As the years disappeared in a haze of youthful activity I started to become aware that to be a War Vet was not, except for one day each year, something respected and honored in our society but rather something to be valued in dollars, something that ‘cost’ the government money, and something that became less and less valuable as our consumer society exploded in material avarice. Eventually I became aware that the contributions of my father’s generation were each year, each election, devalued and seen as a burden on those in power and something that should just go away- As each Vet disappeared into a grave or institution we could all get back to what is important in ‘our’ lives.

    The recent attempts of ‘our’ government to deal with our new veterans and commodify their injuries and service into a one time buy-out, is only the most up-to-date example of our country’s demise into callous greed and selfishness.

    As I watch ‘our’ Prime Minister stand beside a few remaining veterans, proud despite their age and growing infirmities, I see the ‘leader’ of Canada looking like a crippled soul-less waif.

    Oh , Canada!

    Shane Nestruck

  277. Ross HuntNovember 11, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    I agree with John:

    John McCubbin
    16 hrs, 32 mins ago
    “Remembrance Day is even more than a commemoration of war, it.s a day to glorify and justify current and future wars.”

  278. NancyNovember 11, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    I’d like to see more pretty white poppies worn beside those pretty red poppies!

  279. TheresaNovember 11, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Rememberance Day is for remembering those who died or were injured
    in past and present wars. Yes war is being glorified more today.
    For me it is about working for peace – so there won’t be any more
    wars. I wear the red poppie on my coat and the white poppy with the
    word peace on my sweater or blouse.

  280. Tye DegenhardtNovember 11, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    With the big expensive toys of destruction and death ie tanks and war planes dominating remembrance day I believe that the day has become a celebration of war and not peace.

  281. Bill WilsonNovember 11, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    I agree that Remembrance Day is used to garner support for current wars of choice. Days of remembrance and monuments have served that purpose since antiquity. The goal is to make war and death appear valiant and noble so the impressionable will agree to do it again. Stone monuments are intended to portray the dead as eternally remembered heroes and convey a sense of immortality to the next round of fatal casualties. I feel pity for the military personnel who were and are still lured by this trick and then subjected to trauma, maiming, and violent death. They are being exploited by the generals, politicians, and wealthy.

    Humanitarian excuses for war, by the way, are also ancient and nothing more than PR for the homeland and the troops. The Romans too said they were spreading enlightenment and civilization and European colonizers were saving souls. We are doing the same with our version of human rights, education, democracy, etcetera. If we want peace and to support the troops, bring them all home now.

  282. Eileen MackenzieNovember 11, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    I believe we need Remembrance day lest we forget altogether that men and women fought and died so that we could be free.
    My grandfather fought in the Boer War and WW1 and my Dad fought with the 8th Army in WW.2. both survived. My mother’s best friend lost her only son at Arnhem and I’ll never forget the sight of all those crosses, the ground covered with flowers, as the Dutch people expressed their gratitude by tending the graves of those fallen men. I was 13 years old.

  283. Rev. Fran OtaNovember 11, 2010 at 11:38 am #

    My husband and I spent 1971 to 1974 in Viet Nam, he as a technical expert for the Japanese Government, and I went along. During those years I worked with the YMCA Services as a refugee worker and administrator.

    My husband was born during the bombing of Tokyo and lived there immediately after the war. Both of us were strongly anti-war then, and the experience in Viet Nam firmed that up for us.

    When I was a child, Remembrance Day taught us about the two World Wars. It was thought that such things could never happen again – and yet they have. The world has never been at peace – there have always been wars. The reality is that as long as there are major economies which think they are *entitled* to the resources of other nations, there will be wars, and yes – there will be terrorists.

    Today, I hear the word “veteran” associated with someone who spent a year in Afghanistan. That is NOT a veteran. I hear comments about “respecting” those who go to fight for our freedom, to defend our way of life. This is completely wrong. Afghanistan and Iraq have everything to do with global economic competition, and nothing at all to do with our freedom here. Plus both those countries have been destroyed.

    This is not to say I do not feel for those who serve in the military now. They are responding to what they believe is a worthwhile cause. I simply don’t agree. If more time and effort were spent on teaching people to learn to make peace rather than war, we would all be better off. Nowadays, though, Remembrance Day is more about supporting the military at war. I cannot do that.

  284. Elinor PowellNovember 11, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    We have to acknowledge war and the destructive force it is, and then to ask: what are the alternatives? We must start by recognizing the legitimacy of other nations on this globe, the need for justice among our communities and bolster the peace-keeping and justice enabling structures of society. And educate people in conflict management strategies in their own lives and in the wider society.

  285. Dirk BeckerNovember 11, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    We increasingly justify and glorify war.
    Canada has now participated in the murder of over 1 million Iraqi’s.
    We hide the killing behind words like democracy and “girls going to school”.
    Which would most children want, having their father, mother, brothers and sisters alive and no school or having their family maimed and blown to bits but attending school?
    War has always been about controlling others land, resources and currency.
    Where do people think Hitler got the money for that war? From european banks including from bank inside Britain and the U.S. Google the words bush hitler, read and weep. Then google ” The chronology of US imperialistic hegemony”… and understand.
    SOUTH DAKOTA 1890 (-?) Troops 300 Lakota Indians massacred at Wounded Knee.
    ARGENTINA 1890 Troops Buenos Aires interests protected.
    CHILE 1891 Troops Marines clash with nationalist rebels.
    HAITI 1891 Troops Black revolt on Navassa defeated.
    IDAHO 1892 Troops Army suppresses silver miners’ strike.
    HAWAII 1893 (-?) Naval, troops Independent kingdom overthrown, annexed.
    CHICAGO 1894 Troops Breaking of rail strike, 34 killed.
    NICARAGUA 1894 Troops Month-long occupation of Bluefields.
    CHINA 1894-95 Naval, troops Marines land in Sino-Japanese War
    KOREA 1894-96 Troops Marines kept in Seoul during war.
    PANAMA 1895 Troops, naval Marines land in Colombian province.
    NICARAGUA 1896 Troops Marines land in port of Corinto.
    CHINA 1898-1900 Troops Boxer Rebellion fought by foreign armies.
    PHILIPPINES 1898-1910 (-?) Naval, troops Seized from Spain, killed 600,000 Filipinos
    CUBA 1898-1902 (-?) Naval, troops Seized from Spain, still hold Navy base.
    PUERTO RICO 1898 (-?) Naval, troops Seized from Spain, occupation continues.
    GUAM 1898 (-?) Naval, troops Seized from Spain, still use as base.
    MINNESOTA 1898 (-?) Troops Army battles Chippewa at Leech Lake.
    NICARAGUA 1898 Troops Marines land at port of San Juan del Sur.
    SAMOA 1899 (-?) Troops Battle over succession to throne.
    NICARAGUA 1899 Troops Marines land at port of Bluefields.
    IDAHO 1899-1901 Troops Army occupies Coeur d’Alene mining region.
    OKLAHOMA 1901 Troops Army battles Creek Indian revolt.
    PANAMA 1901-14 Naval, troops Broke off from Colombia 1903, annexed Canal Zone 1914.
    HONDURAS 1903 Troops Marines intervene in revolution.
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1903-04 Troops U.S. interests protected in Revolution.
    KOREA 1904-05 Troops Marines land in Russo-Japanese War.
    CUBA 1906-09 Troops Marines land in democratic election.
    NICARAGUA 1907 Troops “Dollar Diplomacy” protectorate set up.
    HONDURAS 1907 Troops Marines land during war with Nicaragua
    PANAMA 1908 Troops Marines intervene in election contest.
    NICARAGUA 1910 Troops Marines land in Bluefields and Corinto.
    HONDURAS 1911 Troops U.S. interests protected in civil war.
    CHINA 1911-41 Naval, troops Continuous occupation with flare-ups.
    CUBA 1912 Troops U.S. interests protected in civil war.
    PANAMA 1912 Troops Marines land during heated election.
    HONDURAS 1912 Troops Marines protect U.S. economic interests.
    NICARAGUA 1912-33 Troops, bombing 10-year occupation, fought guerillas
    MEXICO 1913 Naval Americans evacuated during revolution.
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1914 Naval Fight with rebels over Santo Domingo.
    COLORADO 1914 Troops Breaking of miners’ strike by Army.
    MEXICO 1914-18 Naval, troops Series of interventions against nationalists.
    HAITI 1914-34 Troops, bombing 19-year occupation after revolts.
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1916-24 Troops 8-year Marine occupation.
    CUBA 1917-33 Troops Military occupation, economic protectorate.
    WORLD WAR I 1917-18 naval, troops Ships sunk, fought Germany for 1 1/2 years.
    RUSSIA 1918-22 Naval, troops Five landings to fight Bolsheviks
    PANAMA 1918-20 Troops “Police duty” during unrest after elections.
    HONDURAS 1919 Troops Marines land during election campaign.
    YUGOSLAVIA 1919 Troops/Marines intervene for Italy against Serbs in Dalmatia.
    GUATEMALA 1920 Troops 2-week intervention against unionists.
    WEST VIRGINIA 1920-21 Troops, bombing Army intervenes against mineworkers.
    TURKEY 1922 Troops Fought nationalists in Smyrna.
    CHINA 1922-27 Naval, troops Deployment during nationalist revolt.
    HONDURAS 1924-25 Troops Landed twice during election strife.
    PANAMA 1925 Troops Marines suppress general strike.
    CHINA 1927-34 Troops Marines stationed throughout the country.
    EL SALVADOR 1932 Naval Warships send during Marti revolt.
    WASHINGTON DC 1932 Troops Army stops WWI vet bonus protest.
    WORLD WAR II 1941-45 Naval, troops, bombing, nuclear Hawaii bombed, fought Japan, Italy and Germay for 3 years; first nuclear war.
    DETROIT 1943 Troops Army put down Black rebellion.
    IRAN 1946 Nuclear threat Soviet troops told to leave north.
    YUGOSLAVIA 1946 Nuclear threat, naval Response to shoot-down of US plane.
    URUGUAY 1947 Nuclear threat Bombers deployed as show of strength.
    GREECE 1947-49 Command operation U.S. directs extreme-right in civil war.
    GERMANY 1948 Nuclear Threat Atomic-capable bombers guard Berlin Airlift.
    CHINA 1948-49 Troops/Marines evacuate Americans before Communist victory.
    PHILIPPINES 1948-54 Command operation CIA directs war against Huk Rebellion.
    PUERTO RICO 1950 Command operation Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.
    KOREA 1951-53 (-?) Troops, naval, bombing , nuclear threats U.S./So. Korea fights China/No. Korea to stalemate; A-bomb threat in 1950, and against China in 1953. Still have bases.
    IRAN 1953 Command Operation CIA overthrows democracy, installs Shah.
    VIETNAM 1954 Nuclear threat French offered bombs to use against seige.
    GUATEMALA 1954 Command operation, bombing, nuclear threat CIA directs exile invasion after new gov’t nationalized U.S. company lands; bombers based in Nicaragua.
    EGYPT 1956 Nuclear threat, troops Soviets told to keep out of Suez crisis; Marines evacuate foreigners.
    LEBANON l958 Troops, naval Marine occupation against rebels.
    IRAQ 1958 Nuclear threat Iraq warned against invading Kuwait.
    CHINA l958 Nuclear threat China told not to move on Taiwan isles.
    PANAMA 1958 Troops Flag protests erupt into confrontation.
    VIETNAM l960-75 Troops, naval, bombing, nuclear threats Fought South Vietnam revolt & North Vietnam; one million killed in longest U.S. war; atomic bomb threats in l968 and l969.
    LAOS 1962 Command operation Military buildup during guerrilla war.
    CUBA l961 Command operation CIA-directed exile invasion fails.
    GERMANY l961 Nuclear threat Alert during Berlin Wall crisis.
    CUBA l962 Nuclear threat, naval Blockade during missile crisis; near-war with Soviet Union.
    PANAMA l964 Troops Panamanians shot for urging canal’s return.
    INDONESIA l965 Command operation Million killed in CIA-assisted army coup.
    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 1965-66 Troops, bombing Marines land during election campaign.
    GUATEMALA l966-67 Command operation Green Berets intervene against rebels.
    DETROIT l967 Troops Army battles Blacks, 43 killed.
    UNITED STATES l968 Troops After King is shot; over 21,000 soldiers in cities.
    CAMBODIA l969-75 Bombing, troops, naval Up to 2 million killed in decade of bombing, starvation, and political chaos.
    OMAN l970 Command operation U.S. directs Iranian marine invasion.
    LAOS l971-73 Command operation, bombing U.S. directs South Vietnamese invasion; “carpet-bombs” countryside.
    SOUTH DAKOTA l973 Command operation Army directs Wounded Knee siege of Lakotas.
    MIDEAST 1973 Nuclear threat World-wide alert during Mideast War.
    CHILE 1973 Command operation CIA-backed coup ousts elected marxist president.
    CAMBODIA l975 Troops, bombing Gas captured ship, 28 die in copter crash.
    ANGOLA l976-92 Command operation CIA assists South African-backed rebels.
    IRAN l980 Troops, nuclear threat, aborted bombing Raid to rescue Embassy hostages; 8 troops die in copter-plane crash. Soviets warned not to get involved in revolution.
    LIBYA l981 Naval jets Two Libyan jets shot down in maneuvers.
    EL SALVADOR l981-92 Command operation, troops Advisors, overflights aid anti-rebel war, soldiers briefly involved in hostage clash.
    NICARAGUA l981-90 Command operation, naval CIA directs exile (Contra) invasions, plants harbor mines against revolution.
    LEBANON l982-84 Naval, bombing, troops Marines expel PLO and back Phalangists, Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions.
    GRENADA l983-84 Troops, bombing Invasion four years after revolution.
    HONDURAS l983-89 Troops Maneuvers help build bases near borders.
    IRAN l984 Jets Two Iranian jets shot down over Persian Gulf.
    LIBYA l986 Bombing, naval Air strikes to topple nationalist gov’t.
    BOLIVIA 1986 Troops Army assists raids on cocaine region.
    IRAN l987-88 Naval, bombing US intervenes on side of Iraq in war.
    LIBYA 1989 Naval jets Two Libyan jets shot down.
    VIRGIN ISLANDS 1989 Troops St. Croix Black unrest after storm.
    PHILIPPINES 1989 Jets Air cover provided for government against coup.
    PANAMA 1989 (-?) Troops, bombing Nationalist government ousted by 27,000 soldiers, leaders arrested, 2000+ killed.
    LIBERIA 1990 Troops Foreigners evacuated during civil war.
    SAUDI ARABIA 1990-91 Troops, jets Iraq countered after invading Kuwait. 540,000 troops also stationed in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Israel.
    IRAQ 1990-? Bombing, troops, naval Blockade of Iraqi and Jordanian ports, air strikes; 200,000+ killed in invasion of Iraq and Kuwait; no-fly zone over Kurdish north, Shiite south, large-scale destruction of Iraqi military.
    KUWAIT 1991 Naval, bombing, troops Kuwait royal family returned to throne.
    LOS ANGELES 1992 Troops Army, Marines deployed against anti-police uprising.
    SOMALIA 1992-94 Troops, naval, bombing U.S.-led United Nations occupation during civil war; raids against one Mogadishu faction.
    YUGOSLAVIA 1992-94 Naval NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.
    BOSNIA 1993-? Jets, bombing No-fly zone patrolled in civil war; downed jets, bombed Serbs.
    HAITI 1994-? Troops, naval Blockade against military government; troops restore President Aristide to office three years after coup.
    ZAIRE (CONGO) 1996-97 Troops Marines at Rwandan Hutu refugee camps, in area where Congo revolution begins.
    LIBERIA 1997 Troops Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.
    ALBANIA 1997 Troops Soldiers under fire during evacuation of foreigners.
    SUDAN 1998 Missiles Attack on pharmaceutical plant alleged to be “terrorist” nerve gas plant.
    AFGHANISTAN 1998 Missiles Attack on former CIA training camps used by Islamic fundamentalist groups alleged to have attacked embassies.
    IRAQ 1998-? Bombing, Missiles Four days of intensive air strikes after weapons inspectors allege Iraqi obstructions.
    YUGOSLAVIA 1999 Bombing, Missiles Heavy NATO air strikes after Serbia declines to withdraw from Kosovo. NATO occupation of Kosovo.
    YEMEN 2000 Naval USS Cole bombed.
    MACEDONIA 2001 Troops NATO forces deployed to move and disarm Albanian rebels.
    UNITED STATES 2001 Jets, naval Reaction to hijacker attacks on New York, DC
    AFGHANISTAN 2001-? Troops, bombing, missiles Massive U.S. mobilization to overthrow Taliban, hunt Al Qaeda fighters, install Karzai regime. Forces also engaged in neighboring Pakistan.
    YEMEN 2002 Missiles Predator drone missile attack on Al Qaeda, including a US citizen.
    PHILIPPINES 2002 Troops, naval Training mission for Philippine military fighting Muslim Abu Sayyaf rebels evolves into US combat missions in Sulu Archipelago next to Mindanao.
    COLOMBIA 2003-? Troops US special forces sent to rebel zone to back up Colombian military protecting oil pipeline.
    IRAQ 2003-? Troops, naval, bombing, missiles Second Gulf War launched for “regime change” in Baghdad. US, joined by UK and Australia, attacks from Kuwait, other Gulf states, and European and US bases.

  286. DavidNovember 11, 2010 at 11:35 am #

    11/11 isa SAD SAD DAY. The war criminals who kill civilians and our young soldiers should be prosicuted and jailed for a long long time.

  287. Tim SeitzNovember 11, 2010 at 11:34 am #

    Why not remember all the civilian casualties of war. They are veterans too.

    Remembering what Churchill never mentioned in his memoirs.

  288. Mike LongmooreNovember 11, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    Wilfred owen killed in action October 1917

    So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
    And took the fire with him, and a knife.
    And as they sojourned both of them together,
    Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,
    Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
    But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
    Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
    And builded parapets and trenches there,
    And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
    When lo! an Angel called him out of heaven,
    Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
    Neither do anything to him, thy son.
    Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns,
    A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead.

    But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
    And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

  289. Marc LoiselleNovember 11, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    Based on television programs of late, I’d say that there is definitely and very unfortunately a focus on Remembrance Day as a commemoration of war.
    The Harper government’s current focus on maintaining troops in Afghanistan at this very time is again playing on emotions, naivety and ignorance. Keeping troops there for training is still directly contributing to warfare and killing that should not have been started by the ‘West’ in the first place.

    Canadian troops must be pulled back completely; half measures are not acceptable.

    It there is to be any involvement in Afghanistan or other conflict zones, it should be as a peace keeper role only; a role that Canada used to be recognized and applauded for!

    I agree that Remembrance Day must never be used to support war.

  290. Troy BerettaNovember 11, 2010 at 11:30 am #

    Definitely not enough emphasis on peace and an end to war as a way of resolving conflicts.

  291. H. Pummy KaurNovember 11, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    I have always found it too much about remembering war, and not enough about promoting peace, the attainment of which was why so many gave their lives. Consequently, for a few decades now, my students have presented world religions peace statements at the Remembrance Day services. The full presentation idea has been published free of charge (

    I also feel we dishonour the sacrifices made when we wear petroleum/plastic poppies, since wars are, and always have been, about control of resources. The metal pins require mining, often by relocating Indigenous or poor peoples, devastating their lives.

    The manufacture of the poppy and the pins, and subsequent disposal create more environmental damage. The second greatest killer of our children is cancer, and nearly 90% of all cancer cases are related to environmental pollution.

    I teach about and chose to wear a real fabric, homemade poppy, and donate directly to the veterans, so that I can truly honour their sacrifices to make a world free of war, free of human rights violations, and free of insecurities through life threatening illnesses. And also, have the next generation learn something about how to live in peace with each other.

  292. Jamal UddinNovember 11, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Here is a poem:

    Black Granite stands erect

    Solemnly with silent engraved grief

    Reflects passing faces

    With deepest sorrow

    Countless names piled up

    Lifeless bodies in unknown shore

    An obscene recurring scene

    Through all our lives.

    Restless Potomac breeze

    Rips through the cherry blossom

    Spring was never here.

    And we walk slowly

    Head bowed in silent reverence

    March to our tomb.

    Jamal Uddin

  293. John TeeNovember 11, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    Canada is part of the Anglo American Empire, and the war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with imposing “democracy” but rather access to strategic resources and routes. There are plenty of other countries with brutal regimes we do nothing about. Let the Afghans settle their own affairs. I fear Pakistan will be next for occupation and intervention.

  294. AndrewNovember 11, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    I do not feel comfortable with Remembrance Day because, among other things, there is no Remembrance of civilians killed or for those who died or suffered because they tried to prevent the war from happening. There is no Remembrance for Rodney Watson who is presently living prison-like in enforced sanctuary in a Vancouver church because he refused to return to Iraq and participate in the violent occupation of that country which has resulted in many hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians dead.

  295. jordan bishopNovember 11, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    One can hardly see “peace” through the hype. To see the action at Vimy Ridge, or the slaughter in Flanders’s fields as “heroic” is sickening.
    Can we see the occupying of two or three kilometres of ground at the expense of thousands of young lives as anything but a disaster?

    One did see one mention of a battle in 1813 or so, which was probably the last time that Canadians engaged in war for the defence of their country. The rest (S.Africa, WW I, WWII, Korea) can hardly be cited as examples of “defence”. We like to think of WWII as the “good war”, and decry the “appeasement” of Munich. Had we encouraged the Czechs to call on the Soviets to help defend them, Hitler might well have been stopped then. But some of our leaders still dreamed of Hitler ridding the world of the commie menace.

  296. Jamal UddinNovember 11, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    We must find a way to neutralize or delete this war gene from our system.It has
    caused untold grief throughout the ages and today we are trying to glorify these senseless acts by media hype and commercialism. As I view our news man today I don’t see any sign of grief or mourning for all those lives wasted in unknown shore.

  297. Alvin LeeNovember 11, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    The vilest human behaviour is unleashed by declarations of war. In most ethical and legal systems individuals are treated as offenders when they commit acts of robbery, destruction of others’ property, sabotage, fraud, murder, rape, or torture. In war, governments and whole countries commit these crimes on a large,even massive scale and call it patriotism, or preserving freedom. War legitimizes human evil and urges it to flourish. This, in my view, is what Remembrance Day should be focused on.

  298. AnnieNovember 11, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    I definitely agree that the focus of Remembrance Day is too much on war. We should thank the soldiers who risked their lives, of that I have nothing against; but the movement of the world today is to ensure we have everything we want (note: I’m not saying ‘need’) without thinking of others’ needs. We aren’t talking about the ways to avoid losing more lives to battle. We aren’t talking about stopping hunger – we talk about ‘curing’ the needs of the poor, of putting band-aid solutions to a problem that needs surgery.

    Enough blood shed. Let’s learn to make peace and engage in dialogue with those around us.

  299. EllenNovember 11, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    The people of Canada need more information about who really benefits from wars – I’d like to see Ceasefire publish the names of all the companies that profit from making weapons and other military equipment. Tell us how much money they make and where the money comes from. Tell the people who own shares in the so-called “defense” companies just exactly what they are profiting from. Keep the Canadian people informed about how much of our taxes goes to purchase weapons. Tell us what other things could be done with that money to improve peoples’ lives instead of killing them.

  300. Esther Epp-TiessenNovember 11, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    During Remembrance Day season, my organization — Mennonite Central Committee — distributes a button with the message “to remember is to work for peace.”

  301. AndrewNovember 11, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    Jimmy joined the army ‘cause he had no place to go
    There ain’t nobody hirin’
    ‘round here since all the jobs went
    down to Mexico
    Reckoned that he’d learn himself a trade maybe see the world
    Move to the city someday and marry a black haired girl
    Somebody somewhere had another plan
    Now he’s got a rifle in his hand
    Rollin’ into Baghdad wonderin’ how he got this far
    Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

    Bobby had an eagle and a flag tattooed on his arm
    Red white and blue to the bone when he landed in Kandahar
    Left behind a pretty young wife and a baby girl
    A stack of overdue bills and went off to save the world
    Been a year now and he’s still there
    Chasin’ ghosts in the thin dry air
    Meanwhile back at home the finance company took his car
    Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

    When will we ever learn
    When will we ever see
    We stand up and take our turn
    And keep tellin’ ourselves we’re free

    Ali was the second son of a second son
    Grew up in Gaza throwing bottles and rocks when the tanks would come
    Ain’t nothin’ else to do around here just a game children play
    Somethin’ ‘bout livin’ in fear all your life makes you hard that way

    He answered when he got the call
    Wrapped himself in death and praised Allah
    A fat man in a new Mercedes drove him to the door
    Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

    Steve Earle

  302. Dr. Jerome HammersmithNovember 11, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    While we talk much about the “lessons of war,” have we really learned any lessons? In a world that has solved so many problems why, after over 20 centuries, are we still unable to resolve conflict without violence? Why do we still send young people to die defending the ‘principles’ of older generations?

  303. EllenNovember 11, 2010 at 11:09 am #

    Yes, we don’t talk enough about peace on remembrance day. I won’t wear one of those red poppies. Maybe if it were white….with a peace sign in the middle. It seems that our leaders are always in search of enemies. And if they can’t find any, they’ll invent some.

  304. Bernadette KeenanNovember 11, 2010 at 11:07 am #

    Remembrance Day is about Remembering.

  305. Joan GoodNovember 11, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    It is time we started to talk about outlawing war. Weapons are getting too mechanical and remote controlled so that fighting is not the same thing as it used to be. It is a total waste of resources, time and money spent manufacturing them.
    The idea to have a department of peace at the federal level and to have a section devoted to war under that is making more and more sense. Peace has to be promoted. Mankind has developed enough to talk rather than use arms to settle a dispute. Religions have to be named for what they really are and beliefs have to be named. No more ignoring actions against humanity.

  306. M CampbellNovember 11, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    I am glad that is asking this question. It needs more public attention and debate. The groundswell of sentiment around Remembrance Day and “wars of freedom” arising this year is scary. It reminds me of material I have seen on the build up of propaganda prior to world wars. Yet we see national polls saying that Canadians want to see our troops removed from Afghanistan. Peace-loving people are being confused. Is the rising adulation of war deliberate? Does it make Canadian government spending on the war planes more palatable to citizens? Is the conflation peace, war and Remembrance Day being orchestrated? (E.g., how does the CBC make the decision to program full-day coverage of Remembrance Day activities and sentimental ideas about war?) Public debate about what we are remembering, how and why, might assist us in taking control over the discourse – with a view to clarifying our use of military force – now and in the future.

  307. Donald DennieNovember 11, 2010 at 10:58 am #

    In my opinion, Remembrance Day should only be about peace. The speechifying about the valour of war to defend and protect freedom (whose?) only reinforces the notion that people and nations should always be fighting. Instead of glorifying fighting and death why not take this day to talk about peace and cooperation.

  308. John "Jack" ConnollyNovember 11, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    Steven, may your mind and your heart be opened. Today is for remembering, YES, but it is also about the living, old and young.

    May we never forget to honor those men and women who gave their lives to safe guard our freedom and may we never forget to honor those men and women who served and came home.


  309. Margaret SlavinNovember 11, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    Thanks this morning to all your voices. It helps.

    Looking for the Crack that Lets in Light

    …and there it is, right in your face,
    Remembrance Day, for example,
    This morning. And I do remember
    two young uncles coming home from war
    I had no notion, at age three,
    how grateful my mother their sister was
    to see her brothers home from war.

    One brought me a Dutch wooden shoe,
    hollowed into a money bank, bet it’s
    still downstairs in with the boxes of
    memories. The other uncle caught me, teasing,
    I didn’t like it, squirmed, of course he let me go.
    So no blood, no red poppy. They both returned.
    No, I do not believe they preserved my freedom.

    That’s the rub. That’s the crack. We send our boys to war–
    they die there. They kill. They fire on women and children
    there and don’t like talking it out when they come back.
    If. You want me to say they protect our freedom.
    All I say is they’re brave and foolish, led on by hormones and
    old men who send them to war and put money into the bank.
    There’s the crack, the split where I see no Light.

    When eleven o’clock comes today and
    you stand in the cold November sun,
    remembering, I’ll be here in my kitchen,
    remembering those boys too; I will not wear your
    poppy. We had and have a road not taken;
    I’ll commit to waging peace not war.
    Do forget it all if you can, or lay your wreath

    for women raped and children’s flesh torn and
    that 14-year-old imprisoned this past week,
    same day our prime minister praised Israel and all
    its doings, aligned our trade with theirs,
    same day their defense forces tore that boy away. No.
    I’ll wash my dishes, write notes to friends,
    make vegetable soup to feed you if you happen by.
    My son won’t stand at your cenotaph. Neither of us will.

    This crack between you and me feels an abyss.
    Do you think we must accept the rule of force?
    That the only resolution for tension lies in prison,
    in police, bring back the strap, what he needs is a good whupping
    out by the woodpiles we used to have, knock in some sense?
    I see one more scared child, and feel the ache to
    embrace–Mother’s here, you’re safe.

    That’s it now, you stand up tall. Give a hand where
    needed, bend your strong young back to jobs
    we do need done. A boy can grow into a gentle
    giant, a rock. Learn speaking truth to power, not parts of guns.
    Learn a steady arm around a slobbering drunk,
    take him home, let him dry out. Let in Light. But
    doesn’t it disappear now? Down the crack?

  310. D.J. AllenNovember 11, 2010 at 10:53 am #

    I feel like the glorification of weapons of harm is taking over our country.

    My new signature should be:
    Cogette in the Military/Industrial Wasteland

  311. Jayanne EnglishNovember 11, 2010 at 10:52 am #

    I was just thinking before I received your email that it would be a wonderful world if the only knowledge we had of war was the remembrances of veterans. It would mean that war was no longer practiced, that the current populations of all countries did not experience it directly. War should not be celebrated as an activity for its own sake. I look forward to a time when we only commemorate the past memories and sacrifices of war. And hopefully these will only be appreciated for motivating the existence of world peace,

  312. P. HodgsonNovember 11, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    It is a time to honour and pay respect to veterans – those that have served their country with distinction. It is not about war and peace; although we all pray for peace, some feel that some conflicts are just while others are opposed to all conflicts. While each has the right to their opinion, we should all unite behind our veterans.

  313. Gillian ScobieNovember 11, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    I’m all for remembering our war dead if we are also finding and acting on ways to stop wars for good. But we’re not. We let our leaders take us to war over and over again and do nothing to stop them. We need to change–starting with our own ability to deal with conflict and anger in our lives and then bringing that change into the public sphere and electing leaders with ideals who actually want peace.

    I think this quote from Thomas Edison says it very well:

    Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages. Thomas Edison


  314. Steve StewartNovember 11, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    On remembrance day I honour my Uncle Jack, who as a Canadian soldier during World War II, was killed by the Canadian army during tests it carried out with mustard and chlorine gases in violation of international law.

    Remebrance day should be used to honour those that died, but also to remember the hooros that war brings. It should not be used to win over a reluctanct public to support new wars.

  315. Wayne SmithNovember 11, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    If we truly remember, the message is “Never again!”

  316. S ScottNovember 11, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Ever since I was a child I have been confused and uneasy about Remembrance Day partly, I think, because there is never a space opened up to discuss the futility of most wars and better ways of handling situations. The day leaves me full of grief — grief for the huge losses, grief because we need to glorify what is in fact unthinkably awful and grief because so many people never ask questions that might change the way we think and, if the do, they are frequently shut down as being unpatriotic. Surely freedom includes the right to probe and the right to think and to work towards peaceful solutions.

  317. Katherine ReedNovember 11, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    My dad fought with the Canadian forces in Europe during WWII, and I always remember him on November 11. He used to march in the parade each year when we lived in Montreal in the early ’60s. He died when I was 12 years old. His experience in the war, as well as a very disturbed childhood made him an alcoholic. By the time he died his alcoholism had progressed and things were getting rather crazy at our house on a regular basis. This was scary for me and it often made me very angry at him and frustrated that he would not stop drinking and start acting like an adult and a father and proper husband. Our family is scarred by this. I watch my siblings deal with their own difficulties even into their 50s and 60s, although we’ve done surprisingly well under the circumstances. Sadly, I see it in our children and their children as well. Wow. That’s three generations affected by this. It’s unspeakably sad.

    So when I remember our veterans’ contribution to that war, I very much feel the on-going consequences of their involvement in it. Granted, one of the consequences is that the Nazis were stopped, albeit after doing horrific evil on a mind-boggling scale.

    I do appreciate the sacrifices of our veterans and I think we need to always remember and honour that. But war is stupid. It must be avoided. Never again! Couldn’t we be dealing with the Afghan situation in some other way? I don’t know what the answer is, honestly. I just know that war is stupid and the trauma lingers for generations.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ponder this and share it with others. Let’s do all we can to avoid armed confict by working for justice.

  318. Carole MassingNovember 11, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    I’m sure that Remembrance Day means different things to different people. However, I find it very diffcult to respect and celebrate it. While I certainly feel tremendous sympathy for those who have participated and are participating in war, I see war as evidence that men with power (and, with some exceptions, I am not using the word “men” generically) are willing to sacrifice the lives of naive and well-meaning individuals for their own wealth, glory and even entertainment. I will be trying to think about peace today, but mostly I will be angry.

  319. kimleeNovember 11, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    warm greetings,

    like most others on this page i too prefer the promotion of peaceful actions rather than promoting larger military responses to concerns.

    i also remember the saying, peace begins at home.

    if everyone who commented about wanting to foucs on peace actually went out and did that in their daily life….what would our country look like? would we still have military hawks running our budgets? slashing education, housing and health to pay for war planes?

    what if we stopped focusing on what we don’t like about current ‘rememberance day events’ (or lack of) and created our own?

    what if everyone who posted on this page talked to their friends about this? and they decided together to make a small shift from war to peace in their own lives?

    even if it started with one family, then two, then…

    i speak to my kids, friends, family and any strangers i may come into contact with about these types of things when opportunity arises.

    it causes certain people to avoid me, it can be isolating, especially when capitalist society wants us to numb out from the reality of our lives with the many distractions they offer. especially when we accept a lot of bullying and disrespectful behaviour from others due to stress, drinking, that’s just their way, i may be unpopular if i speak up…

    we must be the change we want to see – gandhi

    “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor” ~ desmond tutu

    its our world and we need to stand up for it. warriors are not just found on the battlefields.

    may you all have a wonderful day of remembering…

  320. PeterNovember 11, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    I concur with what Marilyn Somers and Michael Lessard said below. Also, if I had seen any white poppies I would be wearing one now.

  321. Ron McAllisterNovember 11, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    War has been the subject for poets and historians for millennium. Some have written about its horror while others have romanticized it. Today with more drones playing a central role on the battlefield my fear is we have, in the West become detached from the blood and marrow and smell of the act. War is quickly being turned into a video game where men in Missouri drop bombs in Kabul without ever having to look in the eyes of their victim. Along with honouring those men who put their lives on the line we should also be giving light to the horror for without acknowledging it we diminish the act of sacrifice and give life to the foolish romantics.

  322. Paul BoschNovember 11, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    See my comments on Remembrance Day at the site above: follow the link to my name, click on Essay 132…

    Bottom line: I feel Remembrance Day observances are DEFINITELY counter productive to the cause of peace…

  323. Donald J KerrNovember 11, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    It is too much about the soldiers as heros. It should be more about the victims of war including the civilians and soldiers on both sides of the conflict. The soldiers are victims of war.
    Some events try to achieve this balance but they are rare.

  324. BrendaNovember 11, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    I believe Rememberance Day focuses too much on war and not enough on peace. War is still glorified in our society.

  325. Jacquie ChristensonNovember 11, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    I totally agree………This is Remembrance Day! not glorifying war day!. Canada has shifted from compassion to American style “honour and glory”.my father was a WW 1 veteran and I have/had many friends in WW 11 and other campaigns…most all of them say war is ‘awful’ and not to be glamorized!.
    We have to remember the past or we will repeat the same!
    The veterans of the past are just as important as are today’ more -no less!
    Canada must work for Peace and go back to being Canadian! stop spending and wasting lives and money on agression.
    thanks for your time.

  326. c johnstonNovember 11, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    Our church services do focus on the two World Wars but increasingly recent and questionable recent wars get added in. We believe that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were big mistakes by governments and should be condemned. Soldiers who fought in them were misguided or needing jobs. But should we blame them? Or the foolish and misguided leaders? But let us know celebrate the latter wars.

  327. LindaNovember 11, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    Rememberance day is being used to portray war as a necessary part of survival and as an adventure that brings out the bravery in men. It should be a time of mourning and rememberance of those who suffered such hardship in the trenches and lost their lives AND the need to always question those who would involve us in war.

  328. bunty swansonNovember 11, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    In my opinion, as the daughter of a WW2 vet, there are some just wars in which we must fight to preserve our ideals and/or aid allies. Remembrance Day to us in our family is a time to honour those who served , not an adulation of war. To say “never again” is naive since we wlll always,unfortunately, have dictators and warmongers among us .
    Should we honour the people who serve in unjust wars?-absolutely. But we do have a responsibility to teach the next generations how to find peaceful solutions whenever possible.

  329. Vera GottliebNovember 11, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    What about remembering all those soldiers who died in other conflicts? Don’t they deserve to be remembered too? How about someone writing a “pledge to end all wars”.

  330. Eveline BeczeNovember 11, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I once was told that there would never peace in this world, one country or another would declare war at one time. I beleive if we educate our youngsters about what war does to thousands of people they would think a lot more about the sacrifices many men and women made to keep our country the way it is now – AT PEACE – We must not ever forget these past wars and the sacrifices made. My father fought in the first and second world war and beleive me he did not for one instant regret having participated. Lets we forget.

  331. Richard GirardNovember 11, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    In the immortal words of Gil Scott Heron:

    If we only work for Peace,
    If everyone believed in Peace the way they say they do,
    we’d have Peace.
    The only thing wrong with Peace,
    is that you can’t make no money from it.

  332. Susan RobertsonNovember 11, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    I became an infant child of the war dead when my 24 year old father’s Spitfire was shot down over Belgium in November 1943, forever changing the course of my life. Today, I prefer to remember the children and families on both sides of any armed conflict whose potential has been affected for life by some leaders’ arbitrary decision that war is necessary to achieve political ends. Our fallen members died in the belief that their actions would make a difference…… but the only visible difference in 2010 is more sophistocated weaponry and equipment to fuel the economy of the war industry. We dishonour their sacrifice by remaining no wiser or more effective in ways of resolving disputes or achieving human rights without repeating the same slaughter and calling it honourable……………..

  333. Agnes Beverly DavisNovember 11, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    The government of Canada seems to be using Rememberance Day as a propoganda tool to glorify war. We are told how heroic soldiers are while the government mistreats returned soldiers and pretends that a war of agression is the same as a defencive war.
    I no longer attend services.
    I have my own service at home. I sing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Universal Soldier” and pray for peace.
    I am ashamed of my country for the way it lies to us about what happens to civilians , for the way it treats child soldiers, and how it treats our own damaged soldiers.

  334. Barbara RathlouNovember 11, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    By remembering our veterans and why they died, I think that we automatically dedicate ourselves to peace in the future and an end to all war’s senseless slaughter.

  335. mary heibergNovember 11, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    Because of war I never knew my father. He was lost at sea when his ship the HMCS Ottawa was torpedoed in the North Atlantic September 13, 1942. I was 2 1/2 years old and have no memory of him. It really pains me to see how the Harper government is using or rather abusing this valiant WWI and WWII history to glorify our illegal presence in Afghanistan. The ‘Support our Troops’ slogan is pure propaganda. The only way to support our troops is to bring them home and let Afghans sort themselves out.
    War must become obsolete! The costs are way too high. This is why I support Thank you for your great work.

  336. Tracy MoreyNovember 11, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    To me, Remembrance Day now commemorates the values of power, patriarchy and the barrel of a gun.
    The philosopher Bertrand Russell does a nice lament about how countries rationalize sending more soldiers off to die, so as not to break faith with those soldiers who have already died.
    But, since the focus of war has changed from military forces killing each other to military forces killing civilian populations, perhaps Remembrance Day should now be devoted to “collateral damage”.

  337. LindaNovember 11, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    The campaign called “Never Again” didn’t work because the war machine is too big and powerful. We must not buy into their propaganda and glorification of war. It has cost us our reputation in the world as a peace keeping nation.

  338. Denis SalterNovember 11, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    I think of peace and war, war and peace, during Remembrance Day and in the lead up to it. I suspect the responses to the Day are as varied as the many people, different in gender, race, class, age, and demographics, who reflect on its (possible) significances. Could we have a Peace Day? Should we make a case for having one? I think in principle this is a good idea, but it might get marginalised in relation to Remembrance Day. Perhaps it would be better to try to urge people to think about peace–and about ways to create peace–during Remembrance Day itself. Some of the ‘old soldiers’ like to swap stories, and stand on guard, and so on; but I haven’t heard any of them engaging in warmongering. Quite the opposite. They often lament the horrors of war, the premise being: never again. I know a middle aged man who observes Remembrance Day and is ‘disgusted’ by ‘young people’ (his words) who don’t, charging them with being ignorant of history, and of how the sacrifices of our veterans have allowed them to live in ‘peace.’ Yet when he is observing Remembrance Day, he is by no means glorifying war: he is honouring the memories of those who served, especially those who died. I suspect there are many people of my friend’s age who respond just as he does. We remember indeed ‘lest we forget.’ And in remembering, for me at least, we not only remember the horrors of war but we remember ‘forward’ into the blessings that peace might bring, could bring, perhaps *will* bring. Perhaps, however, my perspective is rather hopelessly utopian. But, then, I wouldn’t want to live in a world in which we didn’t hope, at the very moment we resist the temptation to forget.

  339. jeffry houseNovember 11, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    Wolrd War I was sold to the public as the “War to End Wars”. So now we commemorate its last day as a reason to honour the soldiers of all the subsequent wars.

  340. JaniceNovember 11, 2010 at 9:59 am #

    Remembrance Day is to remember the sacrifice of the fallen in past and current wars, however, I do think that there is an increased glorification of the military taking place. Veteran license plates, visits by soldiers to the elementary schools at times other than November 11, the material I got in the mail from my MP for example. I do not observe an emphasis on peace and I think there is a sad irony in that we are rapidly losing the freedoms soldiers fought and died for. Our culture of surveilance and informants is becoming like that of our “enemies” of WW2. What does “Lest We Forget” mean? Those who died or war itself?

  341. WilliamNovember 11, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    I believe we are still remembering the dead and the fallen but by overblowing the occasion we may be celebrating militarism and the military culture because we need to fill the celebratory time. I have no problem with it being a day but make it a full Stat Holiday – no mixed messages and stay on main message. I lost 8 family members in WWI.

  342. John DuddyNovember 11, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    Investigate the attacks of 9/11, 2001 as the first step to ending future wars.

  343. Carolne Balderston ParryNovember 11, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    As a lifelong pacifist, I have been wearing and promoting the white poppy symbol for some years now –if you don’t have one to hand, a simple make-up removal cotton pad can be made into an improvised poppy quite easily.
    This year I also found that the Mennonite Central Committee has red, poppy-sized badges available that read “To remember is to work for peace” so I am wearing and distributing them.
    I am thankful we do have a national day to pay attention to these issues, but wish more media attention could go towards lifting up peacemakers of many varieties. We need to get Canadian forces out of the war business altogether, and restore our reputation as peacemakers –and we all need to think about how we relate to our nearest and dearest in terms of living peacefully together, affirmation, support and conflict resolution. For help with the micro, that profoundly affects the macro, I recommend a book called Family Activism by Roberto Varghas that I recently found and began to read.

  344. dougNovember 11, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    It seems that it is human nature to be at war. Has there been a time in recorded history without war? As a species we are violent, agressive and greedy. If you want to get rid of a natural resource quickly, just mention that it is in short supply and watch the remainder get gobbled up twice as fast.
    We love blood sport, bull fights, dog fights, cock fights, ultimate fighting, we seem to love watching others suffer through the agony of death.
    We, unfortunately, will continue to kill our brothers for their land, their water, their food, their resources. It is what we are, look at the evidence.
    I personally would like to eliminate war, on the other hand, I have never been hungry.
    What will happen is much much more of the same until we use up the resources necessary for life. I would like to imagine things could be different, but, those in charge are the most agressive and the most greedy and the biggest liars and manipulators (WMD). It is therefore more likely that we will continue as we are because only a small portion of the population has the reasoning ability to see things as they are. Most humans are not that far up the ladder to reason. They react, through fear and ignorance.
    So I do think we celebrate war, we do not celebrate or even value peace.

  345. Don ChesneyNovember 11, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    Yes, we absolutely need to remember and honor our fallen and our troops. I have a real problem, however, with those who would change the words “remember and honor” to “support.” Support means something totally different. I, for one, believe that the US war machine is in control of US policy, and that wars are fought to bring profits to a few influential people, while accomplishing nothing of justice or peace. Canada is being drawn into these wars, and the Canadian taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill for war machines that will only be used to kill people, and also to send our own soldiers to that dubvious cause.

    If we really seek to honor our fallen, we should cherish the ideals that they held. Our fallen would turn in their graves if they knew that they were pawns in a war for profit.

  346. Tonya LudlowNovember 11, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    I am so glad you asked that question. I was beginning to believe I was the only one questioning the true significance of Remembrance Day. I find no fault with remembering the sacrifice of veterans who gave their youth, health and often their lives for a cause they/we believed to be honourable. To me the purpose of this remembrance is to ensure that we do not subject our citizens to these kinds of sacrifices again… that, if humanly possible, we find other ways to solve our differences and antagonisms. Unfortunately, the constant glorifying of war as well as the promotion, to young men and women, of the idea of the glory and honour of war is offered as the best way to make a difference for our country and the world. And this call to arms and the invocation of patriotism, in my view, obscures the true meaning of Remembrance Day. “Lest we forget.”

  347. Aalya AhmadNovember 11, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    Saying “Never again” is hypocritical because it completely ignores the bombs dropping on people right now. We are not likely to ever again fight the “Big Wars” that Remembrance Day commemmorates because we are not fighting against people who have the same weaponry and technology as we do. We are fighting by pressing buttons, sending drones and treating human beings like avatars in a video game. We only say “NEVER AGAIN” when it’s “us” but we’re just fine with the ongoing slaughter of others. For the people who are getting bombs dropped on them, it’s a “Big War” too.

    Traditions need to be living things. They cannot be respected otherwise. I think it’s been already very eloquently stated by some other commenters: our Remembrance Day should remember that war kills all, not just soldiers. Therefore, we should honour the dead and those who sacrifice their lives, not only soldiers. If veterans aren’t OK with that, we should have another day to remember the civilian deaths that is just as sacred in our culture.

  348. Don GraystonNovember 11, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    It’s both/and. Yes, those who actually remember are fewer; but we have a national responsibility to remember. As we remember, we need to steel our commitment to work politically and socially to make war more and more unthinkable as an instrument of national policy. So, both/and.

    Don Grayston

  349. BC MaryNovember 11, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    Prior to WW1, it was customary to leave fallen soldiers in the battlefields where they dropped. There are no pre-1914 military cemeteries in Europe.

    Adding to the horror is the fact that British entrepreneurs came to the battlefields of France later, when the bones were bleached white, and gathered them up to become the Bone Meal with which English gardens were nourished. I did not make this up. It’s buried in the history books for anyone to verify. My point is that we could fall back into that point of view, if we do NOT honour the dead as we’ve learned to do, each November 11th.

    It was, I believe, to honour the dead soldiers that — row upon row — their gravestones create the stark reminders that the fallen represent the horrendous cost of war.

    The message of peace is driven home forcefully in our coming together on November 11 each year to say “Never again!” and, since world leaders keep making the same mistakes, to repeat “Lest we forget.”

    This is not glorification of war. Far from it. This is preventive medicine.

  350. Isabel MeyerNovember 11, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    We are in a desperate situation with money being brought to the top of the list of concerns over and over again. We treat anciens combattants with disrespect, but display symbols of remembrance. They have long needed more concrete help but we are more concerned about the future than what happened to them yesterday. At least we know today what PTSD is all about.

    Trudeau’s promise of a just society is out the window. I hear myself saying over and over – “it’s a rotten world”. “We are animals gone wrong” was the repeated refrain of an old friend who, in the 80’s, was campaigning for biomass – unaware we would eventually ruin the planet and take livelihoods from the poor with our commercial attempts to create agrofuels!

  351. carl baileyNovember 11, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    “lest we forget”?

    clearly, we have never remembered in the first place.

  352. SusanNovember 11, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Veteran’s Day has come to mean a glorification of war. I’ve never believed veterans die “for our country” because our country wasn’t attacked.

    Veteran’s Day should be replaced with a day devoted to avoiding war, and remembering all the horrors of war, not just dead soldiers but also the dead civilians, the injured, those traumatised by rape and loss of homes, the ruined, poisoned land, and lessons on who profits financially from war and who loses, accompanied with lessons and examples on how to avoid war in the first place.

  353. James WilkesNovember 11, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    I remember my Grandfather.

    I remember his stories of WWII.
    I remember his courage and his tears.
    and, I remember his disapproval of war in the Middle East.

    This Remembrance Day, write a letter to the Prime Minister.
    Demand that Canada cease fighting an unjust war.
    Support our troops – bring them home alive.
    Support Afghanistan – build schools, not enemies.

    Remember, do no harm.
    Then, whenever possible, do good.

    James Wilkes

  354. Jay MooreNovember 11, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    I am concerned that we are contributing to the justification and sanctification of war by trying to honour the people who died. Was their sacrifice worthwhile? Did they truly defend freedom and make the world a safer place? Did they serve their country in the most valuable and costly way? It’s very hard in our society to say “No” to these questions. You can be judged a selfish traitor if you don’t go along with this “religion” we share in our society.

    I am afraid that we are teaching our young that sacrificing yourself in a war to “defend your country” is honourable and valuable and that being remembered for this is how to make your life worthwhile. This doesn’t teach young people how to prevent it from happening again.

    I grew up in Stoney Creek, Ontario and a monument stands on a battlefield there where the British fought the Americans. The monument doesn’t commemorate the war – it commemorates 100 years of peace between our countries. In 2014 it will be 200 years.

    Peace should be the focus. The skills of conflict resolution should be valued and taught. Commemorating the brotherhood of man should our ritual.

  355. Brian HavelockNovember 11, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    If Remembrance Day is about peace then why is it that a good part of the day displays the tools of war and soldiers employed to fight war? I was born in 1944 and as long as I can remember warfare has been an everyday occurrence. The only thing that has really changed over time is that the capacity to injure and maim other human beings and cause mass destruction has been perfected.

  356. annette werkNovember 11, 2010 at 9:26 am #

    I agree that we need to emphasize peace, We can do so while still honouring those who fought and died for Canada. We must teach our young people that war seldom solves anything and often includes atrocities like rape. We need to try to alleviate the causes which lead to war.

  357. JohnNovember 11, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    I served in the British Army during the Korean war and was at an age to know and talk to many veterans of WWII. Two elder brothers served in that and my father in WWI.

    For many years now, I have become more and more cynical as I watch politicians distort the meaning of Remembrance and betray what was actually fought for.

    Concepts such as Freedom and Democracy were just vague notions to most who fought and, while they fought for those things and for their countries, they were more fighting to ensure that the conditions of their own societies did not remain as they were before those wars. The resounding triumph of a progressive government in Britain after WWII and the social advances that were made is what was being fought for. In those is true freedom and democracy.

    What was not the purpose of all those who died and fought was the resurgence of privilege and, as Orwell put it, the “counter attack of Capitalism on the Unions” (his definition of Fascism. An attack that engulfed all but the wealthy under Thatcher, Reagan, Bush, and now Harper in Canada.

    It is this decline and return to the bad old days that we should be thinking of when we watch the shows that are put on and that do not commemorate anything but are pulpits for politics.

  358. G.J.LewisNovember 11, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Yes, we ought to concentrate on peace.
    But I also have another issue with remembrance day. That is, that we only commemorate Canadian war victims. Since we are a country of immigrants, there are many among us who lost relatives and/or friends during the 20th-century wars, men and women who fought “on the other side,” as it were. The great majority of those, if not all foreign soldiers did NOT go to war voluntarily but were drafted without recourse to conscientious objection.
    We ought to begin to remember ALL victims of all wars and then pray and work for peace.

  359. Marie-JeanneNovember 11, 2010 at 9:20 am #

    When you begin to read and understand how wars are made, you know that its all about power mongers, multinationals, military industries, billionnaires, governments and very few citizens. Yet, who pays the price? Ordinary citizens. Millions and millions of ordinary citizens. And on Remembrance Day, do we dare think of those millions of citizens? No we honour only the military. I am totally against the military. So on Remembrance Day, I think only of those millions of ordinary people who died for what? Down the line, nothing has changed over the years, and men and women keep going to war to perpetuate war. I’m sorry, I’m not bying in. Our existence depends on peace. Let us put as much energy for peace as we put in for war.

  360. eryl courtNovember 11, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    I believe it was Pope John 23rd who averred “To remember is to end all war”. – and perhaps the most famous English-language poem emerging from the First World War was written by a Canadian officer (“In Flanders Fields the poppies grow, Among the crosses, row on row”, and ends with the statement “If you break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep though poppies grow In Flanders fields.”

    I believe we ARE breaking faith with those who have given their lives in War if we do not commit ourselves to achieving a World in One Peace for all Earth’s children.To me this is our mandate. American General William Sherman, I believe – a life-long military man, averred “War is Hell”. We must commit ourselves to ending War. President Kennedy, shortly before he was assassinated, told the UN General Assembly, “Mankind must get rid of War or War will get rid of Mankind.” There is no more important work for us.

  361. SteveNovember 11, 2010 at 9:14 am #

    This message offends me as a Canadian. Please take me off your mailing list.

    Remembrance Day does not need to be changed and we need to honour all of our Veterans.

  362. SilkeNovember 11, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    I find it quite appalling how Remembrance Day is used to promote the Armed Forces and the War in Afghanistan rather than to promote peace and how we commemorate those who chose to fight as a career but not the innocent victims (or humanitarian workers killed on the job). It is also sad to follow the war of words between the Royal Canadian Legion and peace activists around the white poppies, with the Royal Canadian Legion threatening to sue anyone selling white poppies for copyright infringements. How sad to take a serious debate around national symbols and turn it into a fight over profits!

  363. TomNovember 11, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Agreed. And by the way: this move to extend the military mission in Afghanistan, suggested by Bob Rae and seconded by Steve, is further proof that the Liberals and Tories are ideologically and in practice peas in a pod.

  364. EricNovember 11, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    I was at a high school remembrance day service yesterday. They played a video with a song. The song was about fighting for our freedom and our a flag, while the video showed row upon row of grave stones, soldiers in Afghanistan and other wars. We fight for our freedom? That does not ring true for Afghanistan where we fight to please our allies and protect a government that allows the west to develop strategic initiatives in the region. What I saw yesterday looked and felt like propaganda, not true remembering and honouring. I left feeling very angry.

  365. PetraNovember 11, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    Thank you for putting your finger on an issue that has bothered me for years – the way Remembrance Day focuses on war wounds and not the harvest of peace that presumably resulted. Would it insult veterans to focus on alternatives to warfare – perhaps the greatest legacy they could leave us?

  366. BridieNovember 11, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    Those who do not learn from their past, are doomed to repeat it. If we forget… who’s to say that we won’t include WW III to our Remembrance Day “Celebrations”… if we forget…

  367. Christine TansleyNovember 11, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Remembrance Day for each of us is what we make it.
    For years, as a Quaker, I didn’t feel good wearing a poppy.
    My parents, as pacifists from way back, wore white poppies for peace, but that didn’t seem right to me either.
    Then a Mennonite gave me a red button that said “To remember is to work for peace”, and I wore that for years until I lost it.
    This year, without changing my priciples at all, I’m wearing a red poppy to honour those who have sacrificed for the rest of us, and I feel good about that. I still hope and work for the day when war will not be necessary.

  368. BernadetteNovember 11, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Remembrance Day is, for me, a day to recommit to working for peace. It is a time to join with others to mourn the losses the planet and its people endure because of war. And it is a day to meditate for peace.

    Our governments don’t care about peace; the war industry brings in too much money, money the administration can’t fathom living without.

  369. RuthNovember 11, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    Remembrance Day should be about World Wars I and II. There is a reason why they have CAPITAL letters in the words World and War. The more we make the day about more recent conflicts, the more we forget the original purpose. We must remember that people fought and died in these two wars because they thought that doing so would ensure peace for the rest of us. The more we remember instead more recent conflicts, the more we betray them.

  370. JulieNovember 11, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    It’s a terrible thing to die in a war but i believe Remembrance day perpetuates the drama and romance of war which of course is pure fantasy. If we want to remember why don’t we remember the casualties of war like the children who are maimed etc. Anyway i think Remembrance Day teaches children that war is inevitable, emotionally rich, dramatic, moral, and only for the brave. So it perpetuates war. On the other hand i think veterans should be taken care of by the government etc. it’s bizarre that we celebrate the warriors but we don’t want to take care of them when they return so damaged in body mind and psyche. Humans are so strange.

    Thanks for asking!

  371. Nick Van der GraafNovember 11, 2010 at 8:40 am #

    I would say the primary focus of Rememberance Day over the last 50 years or so has been on honouring the veterans and the dead of the Canadian Forces. Personally, I feel this is perfectly appropriate. To go through the sheer terror of battle, to be put in a position where your survival depends on killing someone else, that is a sacrifice that should be remembered. Losing your life – particularly in the fight against fascism – definitely merits rememberance and thanks from subsequent generations. To acknowledge the horror and ascrifice of war is an implicit call for peace.
    That said, the current government is, like everything else it touches, politicizing Rememberance Day. The Harper government clearly sees the use of force – in war and even against its own citizens – as an attractive option, not a last resort. They are perverting the meaning of November 11, and subtly glorifying that which we should be working to avoid at all costs: the horror of war.

  372. Ayari ChérifaNovember 11, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    désolée, je n’écris pas pas bien en anglais,mais le sujet me tient à cœur c’est pour cela que j’ai voulu absolument m’exprimer. Si la guerre était un homme je le tuerai. malheureusement, les hommes qui décident la guerre et que soit disant, ils sont élus par les citoyens, sont sourds, muets et aveugles et le comble ils décident de leurs peuples comme bon leur semble.
    le sujet est très révoltant mais on doit aussi être plus ferme et si nous décidons, il faut que ces élus nous écoutent mais la démocratie est vue autrement, c’est nous pauvres citoyens qui écoutent et qui subissent.
    Je pense que nous participons sans se rendre conte, si nous boycottons, si on se sert les coudes et on se manifeste sans se lasser je pense que nous pourrons faire de notre planète le paradis. Franchement, moi je boycotte et j’ai trouvé que je suis gagnante sur plusieurs plans surtout sur le plan des économies……………………

  373. petraNovember 11, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    too much war, but vets on way out so we hsall give them their dues AND increase peace messages

  374. EdsonNovember 11, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    Remembrance day has been politicised. It is now another opportunity for the government to promote its increasingly militaristic approach to foreign policy. Questioning of any kind of the military and its missions are practically forbidden and those that do so are made to feel like they are traitors. Remembrance Day should be about remembering the horror of war, that war results in death, destruction, cruelty, suffering and depravity. We should strive to ensure that “never again” is not just an empty slogan.

  375. Anne StreeterNovember 11, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    This has worried me for quite some time. Remembrance Day seems to have morphed into something quite different. The Second World War was the last right war (if there is such a thing) but the wars since have generally been about resource grabs, ideological struggles and lets not forget the power of the Military Industrial Complex which keeps the economy motoring. Politicians choose to go to war but rarely put their sons and daughters in harm’s way.

    Recently the white poppy movement caused quite a stir. The promoters were royally slammed. However, I think it is an idea worth embracing. I would be happy to wear one.

  376. Dave BennettNovember 11, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    Right on, Steven. My father was in WW2, serving as a chaplain. He stayed on in Britain another year after the war’s end, sorting out problems — illegitimate babies, broken families and so on. He would be sad to see the jingoism and selling of war whether it be through movies or the obligatory wearing of poppies by every Canadian newscaster or other TV personality. I like the sticker that says “Support our troops. Bring them home!” I recommend the following from the current issue of Walrus Magazine
    about the unwinable mess in Afghanistan:

  377. Anna MariaNovember 11, 2010 at 8:26 am #

    I am totally in agreement with the fact that peace has fallen by the proverbial “road-side”. Long ago we were headed in that direction, especially with the green centre in the poppy, reminding us to find ways to avoid war and it’s ramifications.
    I am always at a loss, now, when Remembrance Day is celebrated.
    I taught for a long time, am now retired, and what I had wished for all those young people is a world where we could utilize our abilities, other than physical, to reach the same goal.
    It needs also to be pointed out that our country seems eager to buddy up with others and to involve ourselves in these scurmishes, however, can’t keep the job, or retrain these young people, when they return. Much shame.
    One more comment: as a country and a world leader, we had been in the right direction with our blue berets, showing others that there IS another way. How much has changed!
    I sincerely hope that you and your group can effectively bring a message that turns thoughts to peace, again.

  378. mary gauthierNovember 11, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    Hopefully we can remember the need for Peace in our world in each other Peace War No More.

  379. Garnet & Clarise MacLachlanNovember 11, 2010 at 8:13 am #

    My uncle was at Juno Beach in World War 11 and he was only 19 years old. My husband spent 5 years in the Canadian Navy serving his country. With out our young Canadian men and women who serve time in military service to keep our country safe from people who want to harm us, we must honor their service and their memories. This is not about too much war, this is about the sacrifice these young men and women give for their country. Here in my city, we have lost several men in Afganistan and these men leave behind their wifes, their children, their parents, and I cannot find a better way to honor their memories than with Rememberance Day. This is about our fallen heros not about honoring War.

  380. Joanne LaferriereNovember 11, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    I used to think Remembrance Day was important to me until I stopped watching T.V. with the ruling elite’s messages and started looking for info on different media (indy). I feel sad on Nov. 11th for the innocent men, women & children (not just the soldiers!) who have died for the sake of power games & profit so the rich can get richer, the poor can get poorer and the general population (human) can be scared with Wizard of Oz’s tactics! Who’s behind the curtain?

  381. Rana CampbellNovember 11, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    I stopped caring about Remembrance Day years ago precisely because I see it as a day that commemorates war and I’m more interested in taking action, even if only symbolic, in the name of peace. That being said, I still donate to the veterans in the hope that my donations will help maintain or improve their facilities, such as their veteran- retirement homes, or whatever services may be available to them, like counselling or therapy for those dealing with post- traumatic stress disorder and the like. I don’t wear the poppy anymore, though. I think it’s loaded with negative symbolism. At any rate, I’m too young to actually “remember” anything, so I feel that my wearing the poppy would be tantamount to my participating in the cause or struggle of a generation that’s not my own, that I can’t even begin to understand, and that I probably don’t share opinions or priorities with.

  382. JaydayrockNovember 11, 2010 at 8:09 am #

    Sorry, this is just a correction; join us at the Cenetaph to join us in calling for Peace.

  383. BrendanNovember 11, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Noam Chomsky’s opinion on the “support our troops” slogan:

  384. AndréNovember 11, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    YES! As time passes by, the the so called remembrance day has become obsolete and a tool to glorify wars, man made “conflicts” and violence.

    No war is just or can be justified. Attempts to justify war only comes from the belic/war mongering industry players, or from Judaic messianism or Christian orthodoxy followers etc. Only the fight to combat an invader or occupier can be reasonable.

    Teaching clear, unbiased History at schools is the way to instruct the young about the horrors and barbarism and realities that mankind is capable of inflicting one another.

    André A.

  385. John HalonenNovember 11, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    Understandably, Rememberance Day, has different meanings depending upon the time one was raised.
    For me, that was during WW2, and that brings my rememberance of a completion of a World War and the ensuing PEACE that has continued since that time.
    Sure there has been conflicts since that time, but non so destructive that involved so many nations. For this we can be truly thankful and remembering those 2 World Wars cause second thoughts for many before they return to that time period.

  386. BrianNovember 11, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    The pop version of Remembrance Day that we are commonly presented with is all delusion, myth and propaganda.

    I may listen to some anti-war songs today at 11 a.m.. There’s a compilation at

  387. John Mark RobertsonNovember 11, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    It is almost always people who have never been involved in a war eg politicians who glorify it. Those who have fought and seen what is like don’t usually have much good to say about it. Britain’s oldest World War 1 veteran, Harry Patch, who passed away recently, became vehemently anti-war and would not allow any military presence at his funeral. I think it was Bertrand Russell who said, “Man will put an end to war, or war will put an end to man.” Yes, we should remember those who died and those who serve, as it is/was not their decision to get involved or start the conflict. However, we have to let our so-called leaders know that, for example, claiming the fight in Afghanistan is to safeguard the freedom of Canadians is dishonest. When is the last time you were attacked by an Afghan? Never going to happen. They are too poor, mostly, to even get out of their own country. Shooting people and bombing houses isn’t helping the situation any.

  388. Maria VirjeeNovember 11, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    I was born in Austria shortly before the Second World War and grew up during and after that war in Vienna. When I came to Canada I never had any problem with wearing the red poppy around and on Remembrance Day – although I had been “on the wrong side”, you might say. The poppy always reminds me of EVERYONE on what side whatsoever who died or was injured during war.
    I had never heard of the white poppy until recently, which bears out the comment made by someone else earlier that the white poppy is not sufficiently well known. To my mind, wearing both red and white poppy is the way to go. We need to remember the horrors of war, the people who sacrificed life or limb in war, but we also need to look forward to peace as the normal state of being and work towards peace with every ounce of energy we have got.

  389. Jorge van SchouwenNovember 11, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    At present I’m living in Berlin and here Nov. 11th is called Liberation Day. Later on this afternoon children will light some lanterns at my daughter’s kindergarten and we’ll walk around this historical city.

    I think today we should remember but also imagine a world without wars and any kind of violence. Let’s stop this death trip!

  390. Joan McCabeNovember 11, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    I attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in the only community on PEI where the ceremony is NOT organized by an RCL branch. I don’t know if that makes it much different, but, the choir sings two songs: Abide with me, and Let There Be Peace on Earth. There is only one speech and parts of it were denounced among the (average age over 50) choir last year because it veered off to supporting current wars, as opposed to the people fighting in them. The ceremony is about remembering those who sacrificed lives or large parts of young lives to fight for their country. Thankfully it has not become modern-day political.

    My father fought in WWII and I grew up surrounded by his RCL friends, and attended every Remembrance Day service in Edmundston NB. (Always in snow, I might add, but that’s another fight.) They didn’t talk about how great war was; they went to honour and remember their friends. I’d like to keep it that way.

    The commentator above who mentioned that the young of today only remember the current “wars” is right. And karen craine, above was absolutely correct when she said: “Of course Remembrance Day has become more positive about war — our soldiers are being maimed and dying in one and any analysis that raises questions is construed as a slap in their faces. … We who oppose war must come at this issue from a new direction. Perhaps Remembrance Day should be about the innocent civilians who die continually in these global misadventures.”

  391. maggie thomasNovember 11, 2010 at 7:49 am #

    Rememberance day is about remembering….simple as that. Remembering all the young men and women who have lost their lives to preserve our peace. We may feel those wars justified or ill advised, that any war in fact is ill advised, but they were not in the position to make those choices. They went for their country and they fought. Most were afraid if you read their personal accounts; they feared the enemy and they feared death. We are remembering those sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, ordinary human beings like ouselves, who died in the service of their country. If ever there was a reminder of the futility of war and the necessity of peace it is their deaths. We must be reminded, we must remember.

  392. Bruna NotaNovember 11, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    YES! The remembrance day is idealising and idolising war and violence.

    The destruction, including civilian casualties, civilian infrastructures and environmental devastation caused by war, or alternatives to be sought in future are ignored.

    There is very seldom any mention of alternatives to war. I suggest a look at the non violent resources in the Conscience Canada web site and specifically the dialogues reports on non-violent alternatives to defence and security in Canada. (

  393. MICHAEL SEAWARDNovember 11, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    I wear a White Poppy

  394. msorokaNovember 11, 2010 at 7:46 am #

    Good question and I ask myself about it often.

  395. CarolNovember 11, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    Reading the thoughtful comments this morning has been a good way to remember, lament, and hope. More people should know about the white poppy and its origin, which, especially when worn alongside the red, serves to mourn the dead and honour their sacrifice. I am glad to read that other Canadians wish that our country could turn to using its personnel,its expertise and technology to making and keeping the peace. As a member of the World Federalist Movement of Canada, I have learned about the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)and recent developments at the UN to advance this program. R2P seeks to prevent crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The emphasis is on prevention, with coercive force being the last resource. This gives me hope.

  396. Dawn Wood-MemicNovember 11, 2010 at 7:38 am #

    I had mixed feelings about wearing the red poppy this year. I have always participated in remembrance day ceremonies with my parents. My father and one brother were Navy and I work for the government so I find it hard to distinguish between my feelings of wanting to serve country, respect and honour the dead and injured who are so in the name of peace and not wanting to celebrate war.

    The military was in schools throughout the week all over Canada. Telling their stories to children and teenagers is good but encouraging then to handle guns and crawl all over tanks and jeeps ? I think this glorifies war and I don’t like it at all.

    It does not feel like we are celebrating peace and I am very uncomfortable with that.

  397. John HarderNovember 11, 2010 at 7:36 am #

    When I was a youngster my father would routinely took us kids to the Cenetaph in Beamsville for the November 11the ceremonies. This was odd, on reflection, because Dad was a pacifist, but he also must have felt the tension within himself because his brother-in-law was in the service. Fortunately, he came home safely from the Second World War. I know Dad was immensely relieved when the war ended and he dreaded the day when his kids might have to make a decision, either to become a COs or join another war effort. In the end we did not have to make that decision. Dad never glorified war. He had seen enough of it as a goungster in the Ukraine before the family left for Canada in 1924. In his own way he was nurturing us early so that if the time ever came again that our country would go to war, we would have the tools necessary to make an informeded decsion. We knew what his desire for us would be. Dad abhored war and liked to think that there was a better way if a country was proactive in dealing with conflict. We kids saw this desire as well in the eyes of many veterans and in those family members who had suffered loss of fathers and sons. Do I think we glorify war today. Certainly. Strangly, it’s the sabre rattling parties that often generate votes. As Nothrop Frye once said, “A nation born in violence renews itself through violence.” That’s a sad commentary on attitudes south of our border and we here in Canada are all too often running as fast as we can to catch up to the least informed leader in their marching band.

  398. Brian PhilcoxNovember 11, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    Honouring our veterans is appropriate because they have served our country out of duty and self-sacrifice. My difficulty is with the so-called decision-makers who have put my comrades into those conflicts on behalf of dubious interests.

    When you have to declare war you know you have lost the battle.

  399. Marilyn SomersNovember 11, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    I do want to continue honouring those who have fought, as they have, with the best of intentions as emissaries of their countries for justice and peace. However, we seem to have lost the awareness that those who fought in the first and second world war were clearly fighting so that future generations would never have to fight again. Instead, we are perpetuating war by building bigger and better weapons which only gives rise to fear and the production of even more lethal arsenal. More emphasis on negotiated peace needs to be made. We’re made of better stuff than this!!

  400. JaydayrockNovember 11, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    Join with us for another ceremony with Peace as its message
    Parliament Hill, 12:30.

    Last night I had the strangest dream
    I’d ever dreamed before
    I dreamed the world had all agreed
    To put an end to war

    I dreamed I saw a mighty room
    Filled with women and men
    And the paper they were signing said
    They’d never fight again

    And when the paper was all signed
    And a million copies made
    They all joined hands and bowed their heads
    And grateful pray’rs were prayed

    And the people in the streets below
    Were dancing ’round and ’round
    While swords and guns and uniforms
    Were scattered on the ground

    Last night I had the strangest dream
    I’d never dreamed before
    I dreamed the world had all agreed
    To put an end to war.

    TRO-©1950,1951 & 1955 Almanac Music, Inc.
    New York, N.Y. Copyrights renewed
    Used by permission

  401. Anthony A CapobiancoNovember 11, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    I served in the military during the Vietnam War and since, I’ve noticed that our country spends more time on glorifying war and supporting war spending, than on any other cause. Yes, let’s put all our energies into establishing peace with all or most nations, but we must begin by peace within oneself, first.

  402. BrianNovember 11, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    Remembrance day, like Anzac day, for me is about remembering those that gave their lives and those that returned from past past wars.
    It about remembering my father who fought in North Africa and New Guinea and made it to 94 years of age before passing on.
    It is also to remember those that die and fight in today’s wars, needless as they seem.
    I hope that wars are unnecessary but the reality is different.

  403. Zoltan BanhegyiNovember 11, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    Remembrance day is way too much about war, and it should be about preventing war. Im pretty sure thats what our fallen brothers and sisters would say if they could talk to us.

  404. AnonymousNovember 11, 2010 at 7:14 am #

    White Poppies.

  405. stephen donahueNovember 11, 2010 at 7:11 am #

    Its all about war. Its not about peace. Read Tolstoy

  406. Rob AchesonNovember 11, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    The following poem is by poet and activist David Krieger. He is President of California based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
    ( and


    “The one thing I never want to see again
    is a military parade.” — Ulysses S. Grant

    We’ve seen far too many military parades
    with their missiles, marching bands
    and mechanized young men.

    We’ve witnessed enough high-stepping
    soldiers in their polished black boots
    marching to the sounds of brass.

    Spare us the old men dressed in uniforms
    with their sorrowful hats and sewn-on patches.
    Spare us the slippery words of politicians.

    Let’s return to basics: On Armistice Day
    the soldiers laid down their arms on the 11th hour
    of the 11th day of the 11th month.

    The survivors had had enough of war.
    The 11th hour is here again, the sky clear blue.
    I stand with Ulysses.

    David Krieger
    November 2010

  407. Debra NelsonNovember 11, 2010 at 12:07 am #

    I was recently at an event where a lady was selling for a dollar a beautiful white poppy to commemerate peace. I will be wearing both the white and red poppy tomorrow. I agree that too much emphasis is being placed on the aspects of war rather than creating situations where we no longer have to go to war. There really seems to be so much more interest in getting big war toys for the ‘boys’ that are in power right now.
    I dislike very much the fighter jet order, and the way Stephen Harper and McKay are so fixated on being ‘tough’. Even their focus on building more jails, tougher sentences, etc. is all about punishment and making ‘others pay’. Where are the solutions to these problems? They show no real interest in resolving the issues. Such an ‘old mindset’.

  408. Evelyn RebmanNovember 11, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    First I wish to say whatever happened to “Never Again”?
    My Husband was in RCAF Bomber Command,flying Lancaster bombers in WW2. Our first son was born while he was overseas and they never met until the war ended. My husband’s brother was an RCAF fighter pilot and was shot down and killed at El Alamain in November 1942. My two brothers were in the Army and were thankfully, returned home safely when war ended in 1945. I Lost a few friends in WW2 also. I mainly wear a poppy for all of them and especially for my brother-in-law who was killed at age 23. Wars have never solved anything . There has got to be a better way to find peace on this beautiful planet of ours. BRING our young men home now!

  409. Lorna SutherlandNovember 10, 2010 at 11:09 pm #

    To me rememberance day is a reminder of hardship and pain
    I recently visited the memorial site of the second world war , korean and vietnam.
    In spite of not having my parents or siblings in a war all I felt was the pain of losses
    My father in law was in the second world war
    My husband was born in 1940 and I in 1942
    My husband experienced the absence of a father for 6 years
    I believe with all my heart the pain is family sorrow because of loss of father,mother brother and sister
    This is now being extended to absence of mother
    I can certainly remember but the memories are of sorrow
    I dont think we want to forget that
    Lorna Sutherland

    Lorna Sutherland

  410. Doug BrownNovember 10, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    I used to wear a poppy on Remembrance Day as a symbol of sorrow for our war dead. I have not done this for many years now s I have noticed the day becoming more of a glorification of war rather than a lament. I have also been dismayed at the Canadian Legion’s antagonism toward any peace sentiments being displayed on this day (i.e. the promotion of the white poppy).

  411. Herman BakkerNovember 10, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    I think Remembrance Day is a reminder that war is a huge, painful tragedy and there are no winners. One side suffered less losses than the other.

  412. Maureen SimmondsNovember 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    I read in your introduction that the white poppy is to commemorate also civilians who are killed in wars without any choice in the matter at all. Nowhere in any of the comments so far have I seen any reference to civilians. As a survivor of the London Blitz of WW2 I can tell you all that it’s no picnic being bombed out of your home and machine-gunned from above by “enemy” planes, or arriving at school in the morning to hear that your best friend and family “copped it” during the night. My heart still skips a few beats at this time of year when I hear recordings of the air raid warning.

    I don’t believe that wars are about freedom. I grieve for the soldiers who are returning home in body bags and for those whose lives are being destroyed by the horror of it all, and that includes the men, women and child civilians.

    Bring on the white poppies!

  413. V. HiltonNovember 10, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    Remembrance day is about both the attitudes of war and the prospect of endless peace on Earth. Sharing the world’s resources will create world trust and justice. World trust and justice will create world harmony and peace. Without world harmony and peace there will be no world left in the final outcome.

  414. De WhalenNovember 10, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    Nov 11th to me is a way to remember my parents who were both in the RCAF during WW II. It is not to adulate war, it is to remember the veterans who served Canada and made it what it is today. I do however, think that most Canadians want the Federal government to get back to our original role of “peacekeeper.”

  415. karen craineNovember 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    I remember the stunning Remembrance Day assemblies from high school in the ’70s; poems by Brooke, Auden, Sassoon were performed and the primary message was “Never Again”. Is it just that in the West the concept of war has become so different — that we now compete and conquer through economic means? Our enviable prosperity comes at the expense of the suffering of millions and our wars are all proxy wars over resources. How is it possible to educate young people about war when it has become so difficult to understand why we fight or for whom? When Truman warned about the military-industrial complex he had no idea how embedded this paradigm would become in all aspects of our economy. Of course Remembrance Day has become more positive about war — our soldiers are being maimed and dying in one and any analysis that raises questions is construed as a slap in their faces. It is a difficult issue to argue, one that is being framed completely by the Harper Conservatives. We who oppose war must come at this issue from a new direction. Perhaps Remembrance Day should be about the innocent civilians who die continually in these global misadventures.

  416. Mark LittleNovember 10, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    The whole point of this is not to glorify war, but it is to recognize that Canadians stepped forward to put their lives on the line and some did to preserve democracy and our way of life. This constant refrain from those who think this glorifies war seem to not understand that no democracy is ever truly free if it isn’t willing to stand up to defend itself. The military is part of our culture, and they don’t glorify war. Most soldiers and military men will tell you that there is no pointing glorifying war, it is a horrible experience. What this day is about is to recognize some gave their lives for the right to disagree, the right to be free, and the right to worship or not worship god as we see fit. Once upon a time, Canada had to earn its place in the world by doing something we hope to never do again….

    IN Afghanistan now, those troops know that what they are doing is representing the best and most peaceful instincts of this country in the face of tyranny and they are willing to lay down their lives if necessary to protect it. It isn’t glorification, it is an acknowledgment that some give their all…

  417. rita stangNovember 10, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Yes, Steven, I agree with you.

    Could we bring it back to a focus on the Veterans of the arlier wars, as it was established…and use the holiday to make us aware that we NEED to return our country to it’s fine peacekeeping role of earlier years…

    While I am on this point, Steven, what is your stand on the troops remaining in Afghanistan beyond 2011? Let me know what we could do to honor the plan A which was to withdraw our Canadian troops at that time.

    Rita stang

  418. JenniferNovember 10, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    Remembrance day for me is a time of reflection and quiet gratitude. I hate the thought of war, but I accept that sometimes it appears inevitable, and yes, necessary. I was raised with “red” poppies, and have taught hundreds of children in school John McRae’s poem. White poppies have not been part of my life’s experience so they seem a little strange.
    I am a proud supporter of the Canadian Forces as a career for Canadians. They must be trained to meet all needs locally, nationally and internationally, as peace keepers and as warriors. I reflect on Remembrance Day of things past, present, and pray for our future.

  419. John McCubbinNovember 10, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    Remembrance Day is even more than a commemoration of war, it.s a day to glorify and justify current and future wars.

  420. TraceyNovember 10, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    Well! As a mom who has a son who is an infanteer gunner on a truck in afghanistan, and who is also a peace activist, i just dunno anymore! I do know that I have accepted to read the Flanders Field Poem at the remembrance day ceremony at carleton tomorrow, and when I got a scratchy call from my son from the field yesterday, and I told him I was doing so si in his honour, he was pretty pleased.

    I love a ceremony, i have always had problems with this one, benedict anderson and many other have done great nationalism theorizing on this, and here I am, participating.

  421. Daniel ThealNovember 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    For me Remembrance Day is not to glorify war because there is nothing glorious about destruction of people and property. Remembrance Day is a time to remember those who made a great sacrifice to do what they thought was a noble thing to do or who went to war reluctantly because they were drafted and faced death if they refused. I commemorate Remembrance Day for all those who suffered in World War 1 and 2 including my father and Uncles in the Canadian army and also my brother in laws father in the German Army. My father who was a physician in WW2 was against war. He was a member of Physicians against Nuclear War and other peace organizations and I have always been a peace and human rights activist as well.

  422. Donna Marie PerryNovember 10, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    I think in many ways you are right that in the media and other sources Rememberance Day has become a remembrance of war rather than the obtaining of peace. However, I was just at a School Remembrance Day Celebration in Calgary where the children were encouraged to think about how they can bring peace into the world and to pray that there will be understanding and acceptance of our differences so that true peace can prevail.

  423. Scott williamsonNovember 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    I think we are slowly losing the meaning of why our veterans fought.Sadly in a few years there will be none of them left and what then

  424. John R DaleNovember 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    i would far prefer the day to be in honour of some kind of notin of peace, that the Armistice Day in 1918 heralded an end to a useless war and the origins in theory of the League of Nations, later to become the United Nations. If I could find a white poppy I will be wearing one, and it would celebrate the dead civilians and war victimes on all sides of all conflicts.

  425. j. mcsporranNovember 10, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    We used to stop at 11:00 am to think for 2 minutes about the dead and how lucky we are to live in peace. then school and work continued. Now we have a holiday and mostly don’t think about anything. I remember because my father, who is a vetran of WW2, is still alive and tells of how ugly it was for both sides. He also found the funny side of things and the humane side on both sides. (he was a prisoner of war for 3 years so he got to know the enemy first hand)

    I think it is sad that this time has turned into a holiday rather than a time to remember how bad it can get. On the other hand, maybe a celebration of how good life is would be a good thing.

  426. Sasha McInnesNovember 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    I agree that Remembrance Day is most definitely not about promoting peace and I don’t appreciate the way in which it is being asserted that the current wars are all about FREEDOM for Canadians. The war in Afghanistan has nothing to do with freedom for any one but rather, it’s about oil. Veterans are being used to promote lies.

  427. Allen PitchNovember 10, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    War is still not the answer. What a shame we spend billions and trillions killing eachother when for a fraction we could feed the world and use our “arms” to hug the rest of humanity with clean water and food they so desperately need.

    We have to continue to “IMAGINE” and try bit by bit to make this come true. Some day I hope we can all come to our senses.

  428. Paul FalvoNovember 10, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

    I’ve never heard a vet say he fought so that his children and grandchildren could fight too!

    A veteran, I read today, is at some point in his or her life wrote a blank cheque, payable to “Canada,” for “any amount up to and including my life.”

    On Remembrance Day, we respect that and we honour those who served. It’s up to each of us to honour them by taking up the fight for peace. “Never again” is the slogan of the War Amps. No one knows better than veterans the horrors of war.

    Calling “The war to end all wars” was how people were motivated to fight in the first world war. Working for peace helps ensure their fight was not in vain.

  429. Michaël LessardNovember 10, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    I’m happy to see I’m not alone who feels that way. My great and sincere respect, for those who endured those wars and tried to do what was best, does not imply that I should respect those wars as such or respect the governments that ordered soldiers to the battlefield.

    Documentaries aired on Remembrance Day seem to tell me that I am supposed to appreciate the First World War and political speeches imply we should support the NATO war mission in Afghanistan. They sometimes seem to imply that they are somehow comparable to WWII against Nazi Germany.

    I have great sympathy for those who endured the First World War, but I feel very uneasy at the imperialistic motives behind it. Is it not true respect to ask oneself if such horrible wars can be averted?

    Afghanistan is a complex political and humanitarian situation and I do not appreciate that patriotism be used to try and make us obedient or less critical.

    If one truly supports the troops, one will enact his/her democratic duty to make sure we give Canadian troops a decent mission and rules of engagement that will represent Canadian values and allow us to WIN THE PEACE. Soldiers on the ground and analysts alike understand this —that the goal is to win the peace, but we have macho politicians who were blinded by the foolish US doctrine of war.

    We must commemorate those who have died, including our “enemies”, in a more neutral and humane way. Remembrance Day must never be used to morally support any war.

    Thank you,
    Michaël Lessard
    Quebec City

  430. ChrysNovember 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm #

    For me Remembrance Day is to honour my Uncle my Mother’s brother, who never got to live a full life, marry, etc; whose body was never returned home from World War I, and to honour those like him who fought a war to end all wars, who fought so that we might live in peace.

  431. Doris MurrayNovember 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    We cannot have peace without remembering the past.
    There are people out there already who would like the younger generations to believe the 2 big wars didn’t happen.

    The only way to prevent these wars is to educate the young about the past so they will not allow this to happen again.