I spotted a poppy pin lying on the ground today. Serendipitous! Poppies are a Canadian tradition — nobody wears them here — and the pin was probably accidentally dropped by a Canadian shopper taking advantage of the exchange rate. I’m excited to be able to celebrate Remembrance Day properly.
In the US it’s Veteran’s Day; in Canada it’s Remembrance Day. They’re both on the same day and nominally celebrate the same thing (the end of WWI), but they have slightly different flavors. I can’t comment too much about the US since, not having grown up here, I don’t really know what happens at school assemblies and various memorials. I do get a sense that there’s a mix of honoring veterans and general patriotism.
At home in Canada it’s about honoring veterans, but also tinged with regret and shame. Not shame for the people or the country, but shame for all of us, all of humanity, that such a horrible thing as war should ever exist. It’s called Remembrance Day because we should never forget the horror of war, and we should never forget that war is, fundamentally, a failure of that which makes us human.