There is apparently a war against Christmas – if you believe much of what you see in the conservative American media. There is a growing movement to mould how we address our friends, family, coworkers and strangers by wishing them a Happy Holidays, to acknowledge the season and the multitudes of beliefs that exist in our mixing pot. Then there are those whose religions believe in the birth of Christ and those who I deem traditionalist that say Merry Christmas is the way to go – it’s been the old stand by response for decades, why change it.
And while these two battle on, I see Christmas and/or the holiday season waging a new war; this time one that is being brought on by retailers and anxious party planners and I think in this case it is time to fight back.
Each year it seems like lights get put on houses earlier and garland, ginger bread and carols show up in retail stores – for some even before the Hallowe’en pumpkins are put away.
Lest we forget there is another important day between the seasons of goblins and the elves that deserves our attention – Remembrance Day.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month here in Canada we take a pause dedicated to the brave men and women who have fought in one of a number of bloody, miserable and costly wars and those who have sacrificed their lives in military service.
When I was young I was often told stories of my great-uncles charging off to battle and how my great-grandfather was required to stay home due to family obligations and a military policy in WW2 explained more clearly than I ever could in the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. Men wanted to go battle, women wanted to go into battle and everyone wanted freedom for their selves, their families and the generations such as myself that were yet to come.
Recently I was involved in a staff training exercise where we discussed the four generations that now exist in the workforce (if you ever get a chance to partake in the training I highly recommend it, it’s incredibly informative). One of the key messages is that each generation has experienced war – has heard the sounds of bombs hitting houses, witnessed either first hand or through media the faces of those directly impacted and seen the devastation that can result. We have also each at one time either experienced victory or defeat in these conflicts.
Today the Canadian Armed Forces stands at approximately 67,000 strong with 24,000 reservists and a further 19,000 supplementary reserves. Each of these men and woman stand at the ready to defend our country, our way of life and bring peace and help to parts of the world. There are ongoing conflicts all over the world that our military is involved in or monitoring. For example, The Canadian military steadily increased their military involvement in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2006 and as the fighting grew fiercer, the causality count rose with 152 Canadian military personnel having died in the country as of November 2010. A fraction of the number of American lives lost in the conflict, however still a large price to pay for freedom and security.
So Christmas I urge you – put down the snowmen and sparkle until Nov. 12th. We promise we will celebrate you and the entire holiday season with gusto over the coming weeks, just as soon as we honour our real life heroes.
This week take a stand – wear a poppy and thank a veteran. They deserve it.