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Remember first, then put up the Christmas lights

Minto Express editorial

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” - Cynthia Ozick

Halloween is over, but hold it – before we rush to hang the Christmas lights on our houses and wreaths on our door, we must first remember.

In this age of super-fast lifestyles and mass commercialism, we zoom from one occasion to the next in the blink of an eye. Stores have witches’ hats on display in one aisle, and Christmas stockings in the next. A young trick-or-treater’s candy isn’t even eaten before the holiday decorations go up in the yard.

Not only is it silly, it’s disrespectful.

It’s disrespectful to those who, at this very special time of year, deserve the utmost respect and gratitude. It’s disrespectful to the men and women who fought and died for our freedom.

Thankfully, more people are beginning to realize that an event of the highest significance does fall between Halloween and Christmas – Remembrance Day.

Unfortunately, there are those that will argue there’s nothing disrespectful about turning on some twinkle lights come Nov. 1. Many of us are no strangers to the online exchanges from those claiming Christmas decorations before Remembrance Day are no big deal.

After all, they’re still wearing a poppy, aren’t they?

Sure, if they want to do the bare minimum. And everything that has to do with Remembrance Day is a big deal.

Wearing a poppy is definitely an important part of this time of year, but far from the only part. There are Remembrance Day ceremonies in almost every community. There are Royal Canadian Legions where aging veterans can share their stories. There are Canadian men and women serving this country right at this very moment. There are many who have given their young lives for our protection. There are Canadian children who are at risk of losing the significance of this very important time of year. There are fewer and fewer Second World War veterans all the time. We must understand that once they’re gone, they’re gone. We must cherish and respect them now and always.

As proud and respectful Canadians, surely we can give our veterans the courtesy of a few days all their own.

We mustn’t jump right from Halloween to Christmas, giving our veterans whatever scraps of time and thought we have left over. It’s not too much to ask. Be a part of this growing show of support and remember first, and then decorate.

Wear your poppy with pride – but don’t let the act of remembrance stop there. Shake a veteran’s hand and say thank you. Educate your children on Remembrance Day.

This year, Nov. 11 falls on a Sunday. It may make Remembrance Day ceremonies easier to attend for many. Bundle up and come out, stand alongside your neighbours and friends and show that we will never forget.

-S.D.

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