Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day and Remembrance Day

Top of the evening all....

In previous posts, I have mentioned the differences in the way we all understand November 11th.  Armistice Day marks the end of World War I in Europe.  Remembrance Day is geared toward those who fell in Canada's defense.  Veterans' Day in the US is in honour of all those who have ever worn the uniform.  It does not specifically acknowledge World War I because the United States did not sign the Treaty of Versailles.

The Gorman family has now been in Canada for close to a decade.  In that time, we have had numerous occasions to see how Remembrance Day is noted in Canada.  I sense that Canadians treat it with far more seriousness than the populace of the United States.  It is not the beginning of some holiday season or another.  It is not marked by sales.  The nation attends ceremonies.  The poppy becomes ubiquitous.  You see them everywhere.  It is authorized wear on the military uniforms, which we would never permit in the US.

That being said, I like the fact that there is a Veterans Day.  Those of us who have stood ready to answer the nation's call all too often slip into the cracks.  We came home.  We went back to our lives.

Still, there is an old saying that a war is not over until the last veteran is dead.  The effects of war stay with the vets and with their families for a long time.  As the vets return to their lives, they carry the vision and the potential of what they experienced with them.  They cannot 'un-see' what they saw.  The effects of post-traumatic stress stay with them, and may rear their ugly head at any point.  To have a day for veterans reminds us that we have obligations to the living.  It reminds us that the veterans administrations in both the US and Canada are seriously flawed.  It is our sacred debt both to those vets and to our national honour that we not forget our obligations to those who answer their country's call.

One other note: there is some confusion as to how to write Veterans Day.  There is no apostrophe.  It is merely the word in the plural.  I like that far better than Veteran's Day, with 'veteran' as a singular noun.  In many ways, I have more in common with soldiers in Canada than I do with civilians anywhere.  The bond amongst those who have worn a uniform is tight.  It forces the word to be rendered in the plural.

Have a good evening everyone.


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