Every year the Remembrance Day ceremonies in downtown Toronto take place at the cenotaph in front of Old City Hall. The sad part is that with each passing year the ranks of the old veterans are thinning. There are no more World War I veterans and, as it was mentioned in one of today’s speeches, the average age of those who fought in World War II now is 91.
The good part is that the number of the people who attend the event is growing. Today I saw probably over 2,000 people gathered to observe the ceremony.
Among the dignitaries who showed up were the federal financial minister Bill Morneau, Mayor John Tory and a few unsavoury characters from the Toronto City Council. The festivities started with a small parade, in which several generations of the Canadian military were represented. It was touching to see the World War II veterans still able to march proudly in front of the regular army units. There were also platoons of young cadets from several schools.
Those generations were also presented at the official ceremony. The poem Flanders Fields was read by two young cadets and a World War II veteran.
I was worried that the solemn ceremony would be disrupted by partisan speeches as it had happened before. Last year the representative of the mayor, Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, didn’t forget to inform the audience that they stood on Indian land (failing to mention that the Indians had sold the land long time ago) and then messed up the names and the ranks of the two army officers killed by Muslim terrorists in 2014. This year John Tory just mentioned how fascinated he was with the seamless government transition after the election. (Did he expect the Conservatives to fight Trudeau with guns?)
Even the obnoxious professional Indian protesters, who try to disrupt the event every year, were relatively quiet today, maybe because the police were watching them closely.
The worst part of the ceremony was the performance of a chaplain who also played the role of an MC (he is at the far left in the composite picture with Flanders Fields’ readers). He read a prayer which clearly showed why the sacrifices on the battlefield, no matter how heroic, are often squandered by clueless and ignorant people who sit in offices and betray our principles.
When he was about to read the prayer, he apologized for doing so to all those who don’t believe in God. He begged them to at least listen to it. He went out of his way not to mention the word “God.” The prayer started by addressing the “spirit of the past, present and future.” For a moment I thought that it was a forgotten prayer of Ebenezer Scrooge. Then, after mentioning a few other things, he asked the spirit to help us understand and accept that our politics, religion, philosophy and lifestyle are not the only ones or the best ones.
His relativism was absolutely appalling. If our views and values are not the best ones, why did all the fallen soldiers die? Adolf Hitler adhered to one of the many alternative philosophies that happened to include the view that Jews and other undesirable people should be exterminated. Following the chaplain’s logic, who are we to condemn Hitler’s alternative views?
Over the last 15 years Muslim fanaticism has been the number one cause of death among Canadian soldiers who fight it overseas. Yet here in Canada we are not allowed to even mention the evils of Islam, lest we be accused of “Islamophobia.” What good the sacrifices do, if we can’t even name the murderous ideology that causes them? Besides, we may be wrong to fight them – it is insensitive to interfere in their culture where shooting a group of hundreds of children lying face down is considered a fair punishment. Maybe Justin Trudeau is aware of that prayer and its implications, since he canceled our participation in the fight and is willing to bring tens of thousands of potential terrorists to Canada. And so are our official journalists, if they thought it was a great idea to put on the cover of Maclean’s Magazine the repugnant face of the convicted murderer and Muslim terrorist Omar Khadr.
On the second thought, it could have been worse. Instead of the spineless chaplain, they could have invited a wailing imam to read from the Koran, the main training manual of ISIS. Perhaps under the new government in Ottawa we will soon witness such a development.
Canada is what it is now because of its firm principles and values which millions of people of different backgrounds found attractive enough to defend and die for. Equating them with barbaric and destructive cults and cultures is the quickest way to lose everything that we have.
Respecting ourselves and our values is the only way to honour those who died for them.
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