The discussion around Remembrance Day and whether or not retailers should wait until November 12 to put up their Christmas decorations and start playing their Christmas music has hit the news hard in the past week.
A couple of Dragons have been dooking it out in the papers and on social media. One is of the opinion families should teach their kids at home. It’s our responsibility to make sure the little ones know what a poppy is and why we respect veterans. Retailers really do need that time to get people thinking about Christmas. The other opinion of course is retailers can wait an extra week and a half, out of respect for veterans, before decking the halls.
The Remembrance Day argument is huge because money is involved. Here’s how I see the issue. When I was a kid 40 years ago in Nova Scotia the whole province shut down for Remembrance Day, everything with the exception of essential service. The week before November 11 veterans came to speak to us at school. We giggled and touched their metals and their jacket sleeves. We asked them questions. We made poppies out of paper plates and tissue paper and red felt. The walls of the school were plastered with them. The leftovers went to local businesses, along with our little poems and essays. We’d find our work in store fronts. We’d stop and admire the displays and point at our little contribution to remembering Remembrance Day.
Further, when I was a child my mother taught me to do what I think is right no matter if it means I stand alone. Do what my heart tells me to do even if I am being pressured to do otherwise. It’s that simple.
I know when it comes to business that mentality can be dangerous. But, what if small and medium businesses stood together. What if they ignored the big box stores and did what they felt was right. One by one taking a stand, not against commercialism, but for remembering Remembrance Day.
When left to teach our children on our own this is how well we do.
In Ontario everyone goes to work or school on Remembrance Day. My kid’s teachers struggle to squeeze a poppy related activity into the curriculum. The school board provides a canned one-hour ceremony to run on November 11. Storefronts are not decorated and cadets are refused when they try to sell poppies in front of some stores. Poppies on jackets are as rare as seeing a WWII vet selling them.
So, the way I see it, in another 40 years the only choice left will be to teach our kids and grandkids at home because frankly, nobody will even remember Remembrance Day.