Monday, November 12, 2012

A cold Remembrance Day

I hope you all were able to attend a Remembrance Day Ceremony yesterday morning.  I was unable to attend yesterday's local ceremony at Acme. 

I was honoured to be able to speak about a Calgary war hero to the folks gathered at the Aero Space Museum in the northeast of the city.  Ian Bazalgette is a hero of mine.  The young Canadian was killed in August of 1944 while trying to land a damaged Lancaster bomber to save two injured crew members.  He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his valour.

Thank you to our Deputy Mayor Al Henuset for representing the Village at the Acme Ceremonies.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the large numbers of Calgarians who came out to take part in the Remembrance Day Ceremonies around the city.  Even the outdoor ceremonies were well attended despite the cold weather. 

But I was most distressed to hear that some school boards in Canada have decided to permit students to avoid taking part in Remembrance Day Ceremonies held in their school!  Their reasoning is that the ceremonies glorify war and some parents object to that.

I disagree.  The dignified ceremonies I have witnessed over the years do not glorify war but recognise the huge sacrifices many young Canadians have made to ensure we have the freedoms we enjoy today.  Those Canadians who fought in those conflicts lived and died in a nightmare so that we might live our dreams!

1 comment:

  1. The Edmonton School Board is one of the boards which allows children to opt-out of Remembrance Day ceremonies, on a case-by-case basis. However, this option to not attend is mandated by the provincial schools act, according to a spokesperson for the Edmonton board quoted by the media.

    Similarly, opting out of Remembrance Day ceremonies in Manitoba is considered a matter of religious freedom by the provincial government, there. It's probably important to say that this isn't new, and has allowing kids to opt-out with cause been in practice for years now.

    As someone with strongly pacifist religious convictions, I tend to sympathize. In my view, forcing kids with religious objections to attend ceremonies to honour veterans and war dead, who made great sacrifices to guarantee freedoms (like those of speech, assembly, and religion), is self-contradicting and defeats the point. In past years, during wartime, our country has allowed for conscientious objectors to opt out of conscription - again, on a case-by-case basis.

    As noted by Lt.-Gen. Lewis Mackenzie and others, demanding kids adhere to a social standard is a slippery slope -- but also, that the number of kids who will be opting out is likely to continue to be very small.