Today my thoughts are about Remembrance Day, acceptance and gratitude. I expect that part of what I write today will upset many people. I’m not sorry they will be upset but perhaps they will think a little bit more about the things they have emailed, posted on Facebook and said.
I am ex-military. I grew up in a military family. I had uncles killed in World War Two. One of my grandfathers served in both World Wars. My three brothers served in the military. My oldest sister and her husband served in the military. My father and mother served in the military. My stepson is serving in the military and my son served in the military. I have nephews in the military.
I believe in freedom. I believe in peace. I know that as a nation we fought for the freedom of other people in their countries. As a nation we have served on peace missions around the world. We have fought so that others may have the freedom in their countries that we have in ours.
The motto of Remembrance Day is “Lest we forget”. Sadly, we are forgetting. We are forgetting what thousands of Canadians died for. We are forgetting what thousands of Canadians were injured for. We are forgetting the very things that make us a great and peaceful nation.
When I look across this great nation I see people from many different countries. Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Poland, India, Pakistan, England, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, the Ukraine, the continent of Africa, the Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, China, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey and many more. They speak many different languages. Their religious beliefs and practices are different than mine. But they are here because of what Canada is. We are a free and welcoming nation of people from different cultures. They are here because Canadians fought, were injured and died for “Freedom”.
I’ve seen a number emails that rant about people from Muslim countries practicing their faith and speaking their language. Why?
I was at a funeral a few weeks ago. A wonderful young lady passed away due to cancer. The service was a Greek Orthodox service. It was performed mostly in Greek. I am not Greek Orthodox. Nobody protested that.
I have a friend who came here from Portugal. He speaks Portuguese and writes on Facebook in Portuguese. His religious beliefs are different than mine. Nobody protests about that.
I have a friend from Italy. He is a devout Roman Catholic. I am not. I don’t hear anybody protesting against Catholics.
I have a friend from India. He is Hindu. I am not.
I saw an email supposedly from the Royal Canadian Legion; an organization whose members served our nation in battle. People who fought for our “Freedom”. The people who sent the email claimed that it was from the Legion and were protesting that a number of Hindu people wanted to sing “Oh Canada”, our beautiful national anthem, in Hindi.
I have received countless email ranting about women wearing Burkas. Yet in our own nation we gave women the right to dress as they please and to vote. Yes, there were many protests against it but women have the vote.
A member of parliament in Quebec wants all religious paraphernalia banned from government workplaces and any form of religious jewellery to be removed or hidden from sight. The law was not passed. The people spoke.
I was at a beautiful Remembrance Day service this week. I saw the local cadet troops march past. The troops were multinational. The Boy Scouts marched past, again multicultural. A children’s choir from Whitby Montessori & Elementary School sang A Wish for Peace – by Denise Gagne and Craig Cassile that expresses more of what our nation fought for and believe than I ever could. Here is a link to this moving song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBl4zmdso2I
It appears that the children of this great nation know more about “Freedom” than we adults do.
I am saddened by the increasing intolerance of people born and raised in this country. A country founded on “Freedom.” A country peopled by people of many nations and beliefs. Sadly, we are forgetting what our nation fought for in two world wars and numerous military actions since. We are falling sway to dangerous propaganda fed to us by organizations whose only goal is to cause peaceful nations to forget who they are.
If you love this nation as I do stand up for it. Stop sending disparaging email. Stop forcing your beliefs on others. Stop being prejudiced against others. Stand up for yourself and think about the price our families have paid for in blood, death and loss. Stand up for “Freedom”.
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”
Our national anthem is a call to action. It is a call to defend "Freedom" It is a call to stand on guard against those people and nations who would trample on our freedom. It acknowledges that we are from different places in the world and urges us to stand together.
I am grateful and in awe of the people who fought for the freedom we have. I am grateful that their belief in freedom was larger and more powerful than their differences.
I am grateful that I can express my beliefs honestly and openly without fear of being killed or jailed.
I am grateful that other people see our great nation as it is, peaceful and loving and accepting.
I am grateful that even those who do not agree with what I say and believe have the freedom to say and believe what they think.
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” Cynthia Ozick
“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” John Diefenbaker
“For today and its blessings, I owe the world an attitude of gratitude.” Clarence E Hodges
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for sharing if you choose to.
With a grateful heart,