So my favourite holiday is coming, Remembrance Day, and not just because I think it’s very important to remember our fallen soldiers, but it’s the day I get to go to shopping malls and plaster poppies on car windshields in the parking lot or shoot paintballs at consumers who have no respect for our military men and women or walk through malls with a sandwich board that says, “Did they die for Target?” Then just before 11:11, I get to run to my favourite memorial service (because the mall cops are chasing me). And where I live you have to go to early because services fill up quickly (such a good sign). It’s quite a fun-filled, active day.
Still, before 11:11 a large percentage of uncaring people will flock to the malls. Forget the vets. I want to get the latest Barbie Camper or Lululemon underwear before they sell out. TV commercials beg us run to the mall and buy, buy, buy. So we attack the malls. What did our vets die for? Walmart? To see a generation of young people not “get it” and fight for a bargain at The Gap – a gap indeed.
However, the times-they-are-a-changing because I haven’t seen the onslaught of Christmas commercials on television. Maybe it’s because most of my television is commercial free (I don’t know how it happens but all my favourite programs land on hard drive…ummm, really?). Or maybe it’s because corporations have actually listened to the majority and have calmed down on the degrading pre-Remembrance Day Christmas commercial barrage (wow that’s a mouth full). Yes, there is hope.
As we all know at 11:11 on the 11th day of the 11th month, the armistice was signed in World War One – the war to end all wars. But war didn’t end in 1917 with 35 million casualties. No, war continued. WWII – 60 million people died – over 2.5% of the world population. Korea – over 3 million soldiers and civilians and the two countries are still in a state of war. Vietnam nearly the same number of senseless deaths. Afghanistan – over 3000 deaths and increasing daily. Will it ever end?
War is ugly but we must remember the brothers, fathers, uncles, aunties, mothers and daughters who fought and died for what they thought was the advancement humanity. Even if you’re a pacifist and don’t agree with war, take the time on this most honouring of days and reflect on the idea of no war.
Soon there will be no vets to help us remember our two largest wars, WWI and WWII. Our last Canadian WWI vet, John Babcock, died in 2010. Our WWII vets are getting up there – most are in their eighties. How nice would it be if they saw a country united in respect for their courage, suffering and sacrifice before they moved on?
I’m beginning to alter my anti-shopping mall campaign because I see change. Maybe the government doesn’t need to step in and make laws against shopping. We are doing it all on our own. Maybe those brave men and women fought for our right to choose – to shop or pay respect.
However, this is a problem. What am I going to do next year? I have a garage filled with sandwich boards, poppy stickers and paintball fuel. Well there’s always Halloween – that sugar filled death trap, propagated by a secret society of dentists.