A Day of Remembrance

poppyOn the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians pause and remember the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and democracy during the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War, the Afghanistan conflict and during peacekeeping missions.

I've scoured my site for relevant entries. Here are some you may want to revisit today.

Here are some entries about Alfred Finley, a veteran and familiar face in Bloor West Village for many years.

And to those who served, or are serving this great country right now, I have one word: Thanks.

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Comments (18 - click here to join in!)

Ben vidal

I just wrote a little bit about Remembrance day in your other post.

Two things to note

1) If you can't wear a red a poppy don't bother wearing a white one.

2) There is a whole generation who have no idea what today means. Perfect example is the following. There is a very proud Jewish female in my workplace. On Friday I asked her why she wasn't wearing a poppy. Her response...."I don't support that and it doesn't mean anything to me." I nearly lost my mind and another one of my co workers almost tore strip off of her.

I remained calm and figured I would do a little inquiry into her background. So when I asked her where her family was originally from she decided to add insult to injury. The answer was Poland and they fled during the war.

Absolutely disgusting.

November 11, 2013 @ 9:28 AM


Pretty sad Ben.
Nothing pissses me off more than that kind of ignorance. Jewish and Polish.

November 11, 2013 @ 10:02 AM

Ryan G

It's easy to take our relatively comfortable lives for granted, forgetting how different this country could have been if things went differently in past conflicts.

At 11am make sure you pause wherever you are and whatever you're doing (safely of course)- those around you who are not mindful of this symbollic gesture will hopefully notice you, feel slightly embarrassed and then join in.

November 11, 2013 @ 10:23 AM


10: Number of years a soldier must serve (and be battle ready) to get an indexed pension.

6: Number of years a Federal politician must serve to get the same thing.

November 11, 2013 @ 11:17 AM

519 Rob

Back in my old life in retail (RIP Zellers) I used to be in charge of the Remembrance Day moment.
I was always happy to do so.
I'd read In Flanders Fields, and then pause.

One year, I had a customer stand in front of me and ask me question after question WHILE I was reading.

I ignored them as long as I could, until I finally turned off the in-store speaker, and in a low, and cool voice said.

I figured that they'd rat me to my boss, but it was a fight I'd be willing to have.

November 11, 2013 @ 11:46 AM


I'm here in NYC today and you'd have no idea today had any significance at all.

November 11, 2013 @ 11:48 AM


I don't understand the venom I see directed towards wearers of the white poppy. In some countries it carries a lot of political weight, albeit not in Canada.

All people showing respect and a desire for peace should be welcome in the same tent, regardless.

People fighting over symbols, despite common ground and shared beliefs seems to be the antithesis of what the poppy stands for.

November 11, 2013 @ 12:34 PM



I'll probably start a flame war for this but so be it. Far worse than a white poppy is the masses of people who simply don't give a shit. Oh they wear a poppy and they probably sit still for a minute at 11 AM, but that's it. The rest of the year they're disengaged from the political process..lost in recreational shopping & reality TV. That's WAY more disrespectful to the dead than wearing a poppy that is white.

I sometimes wonder if November 11th has become like Facebook Slacktivism. Take a few minutes, click on like, then feel good about yourself for "changing things". Or in today's case, buy a poppy for a buck, watch TV at 11 AM & then feel good about yourself.

It's not guns & bombs that take away our freedom. It's our indifference to the political system.

November 11, 2013 @ 1:45 PM

Ben Vidal

@ Icarus: It's about the fact that the wearers of the white poppy condemn the Red poppy, stating it stands in support of war. That's my issue. Clearly the meaning of the Red poppy is lost on those individuals who support this white poppy cause.

In this regard I blame extreme left wing liberal types.

Where does it stop is my next question? How long before it's a blue poppy? A black poppy?

As for other countries carrying a lot of weight that's fine. Go to that country for November 11th and celebrate there with a white poppy. Then hop on a plane and come back.

I agree completely with Irv, that it's also become a point of slactivism at it's best. Too many people posted the exact same thing on their Facebook today. Enough of those that presented I know have no idea whats going on or care whats going on in the world around them at any given time.

November 11, 2013 @ 1:59 PM


I don't wear a poppy. I respect the sentiments of those that do. And I also understand the argument of the white poppy

Irv: I completely agree about people that don't give a shit. Disengagement of the political process causes terrible decisions and many of those affect the armed forces.

I'll go further and say this, that the greatest respect you can show for fallen soldiers is making political decisions that stop the growth in their numbers. Colonial, intensely political, resource and proxy wars are being fought around the world. I can't think of anything more absurd to die in/for than a proxy war.

As far as slacktivism goes, I hate people that can give a dollar to charity and live off that warm glow for months.

@Ben: You accuse wearers of the white poppy of making accusations of wearers of the red poppy. I've seen a lot of vitriol thrown at white poppy supporters. White is the international colour for peace. Why fight it?

Anyone who supports peace should be encouraged. Like I said, fighting over symbols is as ridiculous as the suggestion to leave the country.

November 11, 2013 @ 2:45 PM


It's absolutely stupid to believe that wearing a poppy means you support war. It's just as stupid to believe that saying "Support our Troops" means you support the war they are fighting in.

I think what has set up this mentality was the war against Iraq. There were a lot of questions & in the end we discovered it was mostly a farce. For younger people today in the western world Iraq is their only actual experience of being at war. I may not agree with their way of thinking but I can understand why they might feel how they do. The circumstances around Iraq were much different than WW2. Hitler & Japan were absolute threats to the free world. Saddam Hussein was as much manufactured as he was a tin pot dictator. Whereas WW2 was fought over freedom, other more recent wars are fought over stuff like access to resources.

In the end though Nov 11 is about respecting the people who fought those battles. It should not be about politics. It should be about people who were placed into a place no one wants to be in.

November 11, 2013 @ 2:50 PM


I think WWII was the last war that was wholly justified.

(And for the record, I don't believe that the red poppy is an indicator of support for war.)

'It should not be about politics.'

Indeed. I hate this bickering that takes place.

November 11, 2013 @ 2:58 PM

Ben Vidal

@Icarus: It's not accusations, they want to have the color of the poppy changed. Their core belief is that the Red poppy shows a support for war. That is the beginning, middle and end. Eff the politics side of things. The red poppy and the poem and what it represents today and what it meant then is the same meaning. So why change it why have the white poppy. If you want to represent peace then go out and by a full wardrobe of white clothes. Don't eff with the red poppy

My indication of extreme left wing liberal only refers to people that feel like they have apologize for something that doesn't exist. Then when they realize it doesn't exist they make up an excuse to bring it to the fore front. In turn they then tell people it's a problem. It doesn't refer to a true view of political or a political case. I'm pretty sure based on tweets, articles I've read and anyone I've seen on TV, NO one on any side of the political spectrum in office is supporting the white poppy wave.

November 11, 2013 @ 3:19 PM


After the mayor laid a wreath at the foot of the cenotaph at Toronto’s Old City Hall he walked past a row of veterans and at least one refused to shake his hand.

Tony Smith, who was stationed in Germany after the Second World War, says he wouldn’t shake Ford’s hand because he says the mayor is “a druggie.”

Smith, 80, says he doesn’t agree with drugs and Ford shouldn’t have attended the ceremony with a crack cocaine admission hanging over his head.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Toronto+Mayor+Ford+escape+controversy+Remembrance+ceremony/9151677/story.html#ixzz2kN0mfpZl

November 11, 2013 @ 3:21 PM


@Irv: Can't say I agree with the soldier's decision there. Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly kinda said it well during an interview I heard today. Paraphrasing:

"My father served in the RCAF, and on this he and other servicemen always said-- you salute the office, not the man."

Meaning: Ford should be in attendance, as a figurehead of the City. And the soldiers should have no problem saluting him-- because they know they are saluting the City, not the Mayor.

(Which also means that if he has earned their respect, they'll both know it, too)

November 11, 2013 @ 4:15 PM


I've become very cynical over time over symbols and the such. I've noticed the people who wrap themselves in the flag, or poppy or ribbons or whatever are most likely treat others like trash (even if they are a vet who fallen in hard times). Look as a nation who got a 2% GST tax cut while others are out fighting a war, Nobody pushed for maybe raising taxes during war time so everybody is contributing. Oh I forget for a few weeks we wear poppy's and put ribbon on car. So we're good.

We have mainstream outrage about some schmuck who steals fifty bucks from a poppy till (and yes that's a scum move to do) but we don't really hear when a government tries to weasel it's way out of paying medical bills or pension to front-line vets from recent wars. I've mentioned in the "open mike" CFRB Jim Richards is the only radio host I hear regularly talking about this. Unless you are really into geek political talk, this is hardly ever register as news. But if you wear a white poppy, look out, there is hell to pay.

I remember when the Afghan war was about starting up there was debate if we should have the yellow ribbon stickers on emergency vehicles. There was a big push from a lot of "support the troops" talk radio hosts and columnists that we must have these ribbons on city vehicles. Oddly none of them seem to find the same energy to write articles about how to fund and take care of them after they come home.

This editorial from the Hamilton Spec I think hits it perfectly.

November 11, 2013 @ 4:58 PM

Willy Nilly

I have twice visited Vimy Ridge. A very emotional experience and worth the trip. My great uncle fought there and survived. Went to Ypres and visited the grave of Col. John McCrae. Please don't argue over the colour of the poppy........just respect and remember.

November 11, 2013 @ 7:43 PM

Rick C in Oakville

My Father is a WW2 vet (Merchant Navy), and he would be the first to tell you that the last thing a vet would be for is to promote war. They were young kids, barely 17/18 years old, but believed they had to do this to ensure peace for the whole world.
He was interviewed for this piece by Sun TV for today.http://en.video.canoe.tv/archive/source/winnipeg-police-service/valour-at-sea/2829163647001
Growing up I didn't really know the sacrifices they made. but the last 30 years I haven't missed a Remembrance day service with him.

November 11, 2013 @ 9:22 PM

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