While the temptation loomed large for us to dive into a triple-decker sundae for National Sundae Day (which really feels odd popping up in mid-November) or to pick up some new, weird soda beverage for Bonza Bottler Day, we decided to refrain. It felt silly to pile on celebrations to a day that has been set aside for something this important. Out of respect for the true purpose of November 11, we opted to remain focused:
Remembrance Day / Veterans Day
There are some among us who have the cojones and dedication to serve their country. Not being one of those people, I can only offer my respect and thanks. Canada’s military reputation is pretty solid, from backing the Brits in their fight against fascism to the Suez Canal crisis to staying the hell out of Vietnam. We’ve never had the financial backing to become a military powerhouse, but when our troops have been called to fight, they have fought well.
Yesterday marked the 102nd anniversary of the end of the War To End All Wars. Most everyone in this country has family who fought in that war. And it was as nasty as its legend professes: nearly 61,000 died, 172,000 were wounded. Canada’s population around that time was in the 7 million range, so that is a substantial percentage of our people who bled to shut down the Kaiser and restore peace to Europe. By comparison, we only lost about 45,000 Canadians in WWII, and our population was up over 11.5 million by then. WWI still reigns as the big one.
The traditions for Remembrance Day have always been pretty steady: veterans gather at a cenotaph or in a school gymnasium, some solemn music is played, and someone recites “In Flanders Field”. This year things were different. Schools didn’t have assemblies. Local observances were quiet and distanced. Many chose to express their respect on social media, while I’m sure most simply took it as a mid-week day off and watched The Price Is Right. Such is the gift of freedom we’ve all been given by those who served.
This year should also prompt some discussion over the nature of freedom and sacrifice, shouldn’t it? I can think of two reasons. First off, in America you’ve got a president who weaseled out of serving, who has such respect for soldiers that he has called them ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’, who opted out of honouring the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in France because there was some rain, and who has shown such little respect for the democracy so many Americans have died for, he’s willing to throw it all into jeopardy just so he can try to cling to his power. If anyone who actually served in WWI or WWII for the United States were to witness this, they’d probably never stop throwing up.
Secondly, we’re in the midst of a weird pandemic right now. We’re being asked to make a few small alterations to our lives: wear a mask in public, and avoid large gatherings until this is under control. The fact that so many are rebelling against this should demonstrate just how few people really have what it takes to sacrifice for their country. These people won’t even sacrifice basic comfort and the ability to get loaded with friends and family. Maybe I don’t have what it takes to serve in the actual military (and trust me, I absolutely do not), but I have the capacity to respect that sacrifice, and to do what little I can to keep my fellow humans healthy.
But enough ranting. We offer nothing but the deepest respect to all who have served, and to all who have been wounded or killed in that service. War is fast becoming an antiquated notion – a luxury of a more advanced age – but we can never forget the humans who brought us here on their backs. Thanks to all.
Yes, we will get to the bonza bottles and the sundaes. Even National Metal Day and Origami Day might get a nod. Here’s what we’ve got to tackle today:
- National French Dip Day. What a day to be without any au jus. This might pop up on the weekend.
- National Pizza With The Works Except Anchovies Day. I’ve never had anchovies on pizza before. And I totally would. That said, I’d totally have pizza without them too, so let’s do that.
- National Chicken Soup For The Soul Day. Do we actually enjoy some chicken soup, or just toss out some Jack Canfield quotes?
- National Happy Hour Day. Happy hour all day!
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton Day. Who was she? Tune in to find out.
- Fancy Rat & Mouse Day. Rats and mice are fine, but when they get fancy? That’s fucking exquisite.
- International Guinness World Records Day. Is there a record for most celebrations celebrated in a year?
- World Quality Day. Right on.