Thursday, November 09, 2006

On poppies and petitions

Coyne and others are encouraging people to sign the Dominion Institute's petition to give the last Canadian veteran of World War One a state funeral. I'm all for it, I've signed and I hope you will too.

But my first reaction when I heard of this push the other day, and I still feel it, is that this seems a touch creepy, no? I mean three veterans are still with us, and I'd imagine they don't want to leave any time soon. I know estate planning is important, but still, I'd rather not have people planning my funeral while I'm still around. Maybe it's just me.

Lest we forget

And maybe it's just me too, but are less people wearing poppies this year? I live in Scarborough, a very multicultural suburb of Toronto, so maybe that's part of it. I know Canada is all about multicultural diversity, and so am I, but I wonder if in our zeal for multiculturalism we're not doing a good enough job of teaching new Canadians about our traditions and our history.

I know that with a concerted push by the Legion and others in recent years the youth are coming back. More young people, and people of all ages, have been attending Remembrance Day ceremonies in recent years. When I lived in Ottawa I would attend the national ceremony and the crowd got bigger every year. Maybe we need a similar effort to engage new Canadians in Remembrance Day.

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Olaf said...


I'm a bit weirded out by the whole petition thing as well, but just because it seems like a competition. Like, if you don't survive past the age of 105, you're not worthy of a state funeral. Only the longest living WWI veteran is granted a state funeral.

Seems weird to me, and brings to mind the Simpson's episode where Abe and Monty are the last two alive vying for the Hellfish treasure. In any case, I don't have a point, it just seems weird to me.

Locusta emersonia said...

I think the petition is a great idea and I will be signing it. Maggie Thatcher's funeral has been planned ahead, and this is likely true for many heads of state, Harper included. These WWI veterans are as much heads of state or ambassadors to Canada as any other poohbah, and deserve this much.
Think of it: Canadian history, in person, honoured for all time. Lest we forget.
I'm all for it.
Also, I wouldn't doubt that these last veterans will think of this as quite the chess game, or final battle, and it will amuse them no end. After all, it's not the first time these brave men have stared death in the face. May the best man win!

Anonymous said...

May seem weird, but think about it - it would be the last chance to thank WWI vets for what they've done.

Penny said...

For what it's worth, I haven't seen anyone here in West Van without a poppy.

I've noticed, because I keep forgetting to put one of mine on whatever I'm wearing.... and feel like a pariah.

Anonymous said...

Member of B.C. legislature wants state funeral for last WW1 vet

VICTORIA (CP) - A B.C. politician is looking for public help to promote the idea of a state funeral when Canada's last veteran of the First World War dies.

New Democrat MLA Mike Farnworth says last Remembrance Day there were six surviving veterans, but this year just three remain - two aged 106 and one who's 105.

Sixty-eight thousand Canadians lost their lives in the First World War and Farnworth says this would be an appropriate, symbolic way to honour the sacrifice that they and their comrades made for Canada.

He says people need to let their politicians know that this would be an appropriate act of recognition.

A new poll suggests a strong majority of Canadians favour breaking with tradition by giving the last veteran of the First World War a state funeral.