It’s the 99th anniversary of Armistice Day in World War I. Too long ago to have surviving veterans, but not too long to go without remembering their efforts.
Cindy and I went down to the Cenotaph for the wreath laying ceremony, like we do every year. And as in most years, there were several hundred people braving the snow and cold to pay respect to our veterans and hope for lasting peace.
Each year, I get a little more conflicted by the ceremony. Not conflicted by why I’m there, but conflicted by the ceremony itself.
As our society changes and gets more inclusive, following the pattern of a Christian church service seems more and more out of place. How do the Sikh’s (who fought and who laid a wreath) feel about all the Jesus references, for example. Or the Muslims who’s ancestors also fought in the World Wars? Can I be an atheist or a Buddhist or a Hindu and still feel a core part of the ceremony?
Now, to their credit, the Legion ceremony has changed quite a bit over the years. But things seem to have been taken out andm not replaced. So the entire event seems shorter each year, which is a shame, even in the snow and cold.
It would be great if we could honour our war veterans on this day and also pledge to work for peace and understanding throughout the world. To invite all groups to lay a wreath, including First Nations, LGBT veterans, all religions and immigrant groups. So we can all say ‘Thank You’, ‘We Remember’ and ‘Never, Ever Again.’
The ceremony talks a lot about how our veterans defended freedom. I’m all for that. And to me, freedom means diversity. We need more of that too.