If you have any kind of social media account, then you are aware that in late October, in the midst of Halloween costumes and candy, there is a debate going on. The debate is Christmas decorations before Remembrance Day. Now I am only newly 25, so maybe this fight seems fresh to me because I have only had to look after my decorations for maybe 6 years. So it has probably been going on a lot longer that I have ever been aware. But this year especially I have been taking notice. I have read all the posts and listened to the radio and news shows talk about it. I thought that I was very carefully collecting the facts and my thoughts about it so I could have an opinion. Tonight, sitting in the fourth row at the Winspear Theater I picked a view.
I didn't grasp at this point that he would go and come back again. He would be a veteran twice before I got out of University.
Most of you know that I am Christian, especially if you found my blog through boldcupofcoffee.com. If you have read certain past posts of mine, then you also know I have a very strong attachment to the Canadian Military, even having never served before myself. I grew up in the Air Cadet program, I grew up in a culture of structure and uniforms and respect. As I grew older my friends were already a few years ahead of me started to join the forces. I was only 16 the day my first friend went to fight overseas. When I first joined cadets I had some knowledge about veterans and war. I knew why we wore a poppy and as a trumpet player I had been playing the Last Post and Reveille since I was 12. I felt like it was my small part of giving respect to the fallen. When I was 17 and my first friend came home from overseas it really took me some time to understand and that when we hung out and went bowling and just got coffee, that I was spending time with a veteran. What a mind blowing realization. Whenever I pictured a war vet up until that point it had been a man or a woman in a uniform in a black and white picture, or a person in a blue blazer that was out of the service. But no, this young man who I grew up with had gone and come back. I didn't grasp at this point that he would go and come back again. He would be a veteran twice before I got out of University.
On the flip side I am a practising Christian. So whenever I see the billboards during the Holiday Season that say “Keep Christ in Christmas”, I agree. I really get into the spirit of Christmas, I think its fun, I think it brings people closer together. But I celebrate for my God all year long. Christmas is an extra special time, and I think that sometimes it really is over commercialized, but the ideas and messages are still meaningful.
Regardless on what religion you are, what holidays you celebrate, what colour your skin is, and who you love, you are safe here.
Lets talk about the time lines for both Remembrance Day and Christmas. Remembrance Day gets one day that everyone knows about, and one week that only half of Canadian Citizens know about called Veterans Week. Christmas is one day, that gets the day before it dedicated to it as well. It is spoken about as a religious holiday but every year it gets a little more about the presents and who can one up the holiday gatherings from last year. I am from Canada and as Canadians, Remembrance Day is about all the Canadians who have given their lives to let you be able to have the freedom to celebrate Christmas. Or the choice not to. You have the freedom of choice because other Canadian citizens fought for you. They made their ultimate sacrifices for you, and yet we struggle to give them one hour of one day. Why can't you wait to get Christmas started until the 12th of November? There are 44 days between November 12th and Christmas day. What other Holiday gets 44 days in a Calendar year? Thousands upon thousands of men and women, Mothers and Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Sons and Daughters gave their lives for you, and thousands and thousands more have fought and come home and probably walk among you now and you have know idea what they've done for you.
Regardless on what religion you are, what holidays you celebrate, what colour your skin is, and who you love, you are safe here. Canada is a proud and safe country for us to live in, and we owe so much of it to so few. Remembrance Day is in two days, and there will be families and friends grieving over lost loved ones, or maybe ones that have come back from war injured. There will be so many people at Christmas that are missing key parts of families. I will wake up Christmas morning surrounded by my family and friends full of life and love. Not the same can be said for many families across our country. Instead they get a cold day in November to grieve and remember their loved ones. One that many Canadians take off and go shopping, or stay in, or use it as a free day.
I am from a generation of kids that unless they have some kind of military affiliation, don't spend much thought on Veterans Week.
I would invite you to make it out to any service across our great city, or the country and stand there with your red poppy on your lapel and show your gratitude. You will be surrounded by people who knew and loved the fallen and your respect and presence will let them know their loved ones died for something so much greater. Once the service is over, by all means head home and start the holiday season, all the trees and cookies and lights will be there on the 12th of November, for this is the freedom so many fought for. If you have a love for Jesus and Christmas it is in your heart all year long, and I promise it will still there!
I sat tonight at the Winspear watching a show called “Lest We Forget, A Musical Tribute.” I cannot even begin to tell you about the emotion and pride in that space. The amount of veterans in uniform, and the amount of dressed up family and children of military personnel was so overwhelming. They showed a slide show of the fallen and there was hardly a dry eye in the venue. There was such a movement of love and respect there that night, one which I wish I could duplicate in my day to day being. I am from a generation of kids that unless they have some kind of military affiliation, don't spend much thought on Veterans Week. However, everyone knows why we celebrate Christmas. So, I ask of you friends, we have one day until Remembrance Day, please stand with us and show your respect. I can't wait to see you.
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