Lest we forget.
We hear these three words all over the country at the events surrounding Remembrance Day and the day itself.
So what does that mean?
Like many phrases, there are often many meanings.
For the days and events surrounding Remembrance Day, one of the meanings should be obvious. It is time we take to remember the sacrifices of countless servicemen and women have given to protect freedom and the best of Canadian ideals not only for the people of our nation but those around the world.
It is also a time that as reverend Roger Manuel said during his address at the Fort Assiniboine Remembrance Day ceremony to reflect on the human cost of conflict. And perhaps, more importantly, take time to reflect if we as individuals and as a society are living up to the legacies of the brave men and women who have donned the uniform of the Canadian Armed Forces.
I also think this is something Don Cherry should have thought before he went on Coaches’ Corner Nov. 9. His decisive comments disparaging new Canadians by implying new immigrants couldn’t be bothered to wear poppies isn’t something that lives up to the legacy left behind by our veterans.
In hindsight, Cherry admits he should have chosen his words more carefully, adding what he meant to say is everyone should buy a poppy.
And if he had said that, I and most Canadians would have agreed with him. I have always said we don’t do enough to honour our veterans. The very least, and I mean very least, we can do is buy a poppy and attend a Remembrance Day ceremony.
However, what he said is: “You people that come here ... you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you could pay a couple of bucks for a poppy.”
It seems pretty clear to me who he was targeting with his words. In my opinion it isn’t something that lives up to the legacy of our veterans.
I would also question how Cherry knows fewer poppies are being worn and who exactly is wearing them.
According to the Royal Canadian Legion over the last number of years, poppy sales have been consistent at 20 million. which isn’t terrible in a country of 37 million. Math doesn’t seem to be Cherry’s strong suit. Remember the too many men penalty his Bruins took in 1979 semi-finals against the Montreal Canadiens?
As for the demographics of who is wears a poppy is anyone’s guess. If someone did an informal poll in Barrhead, depending on when it was taken I would have been included in those who had not bought a poppy (while I buy multiple poppies every year I’m notoriously bad at getting them to stay on).
All that being said, I go back to reverend Manuel’s statement about taking time during Remembrance Day to think about whether our actions and statements reflect the legacy veterans were fighting for. And I for one believe inferring that new immigrants couldn’t be bothered to wear poppies is not living up to that legacy.