All Posts Tagged With: "Remembrance Day"
McMaster students stood up for 11 a.m. moment of silence
One of the tensest moments of my first year at McMaster University didn’t happen when I was writing exams or fighting with my roommate or handing in a late assignment. It happened on Nov. 11, 2009 when I was sitting in the musty basement lecture hall of an old arts building on campus.
The English professor started lecturing at 10:30 a.m. When 11 a.m. rolled around, the time traditionally reserved as a minute of silence in respect for those affected by war—through combat or collateral—a student raised her hand.
“Shouldn’t we stop lecture for a minute right now?” she said, and outlined her case: that would be the most respectful thing to do.
A long, awkward silence fell over the large hall. Then, the professor said no. I don’t remember her reason, exactly. It was a convoluted argument about respecting her lecture in the academic space and not interrupting it by glorifying war. She was very against recognizing the moment.
Movember jewelery, discovery at McMaster & Instagram
1. Four Kwantlen University students are fulfilling their business degree requirements and raising money for prostate cancer research by selling Movember-themed jewelery. Their mo necklaces, sold online, are so popular that they ran out at one point, reports the Vancouver Sun. Movember is an annual mustache-growing fundraiser.
2. Just in time for Remembrance Day on Sunday, librarians in McMaster University’s special collections discovered several poppies preserved in the travel diary of a soldier’s wife. Librarian Wade Wyckoff told Metro that he believes the petals originated from Flanders fields, that famous World War One graveyard where the poppies grow, between the crosses, row on row.
3. If you’re on Instagram, there’s a new reason to be concerned about your privacy. The social photo sharing site has done you the favour of putting all of your photos on the web. They’re at Instagram.com/your username. Users can turn off the profiles through their mobile devices.
It depends whom you ask
A Facebook posting advertising a Remembrance Day Pub Crawl at the New Brunswick Community College in Saint John is “disrespectful” and “in bad taste,” Jack Watt of the NBCC Student Representative Council told the Telegraph-Journal.
The page features a photo of a poppy with “Lest We Forget” underneath. It reads “join us to remember the brave men and women that fought for our country. 11 bars in 11 hours…” It says that crawlers will start their day at 10:30 a.m., which means they will have drinks in hand during the 11 a.m. moment of silence.
The event has not been sanctioned by the school. Both students and teachers are upset, says Watt.
But Larry Lynch, the president of local Royal Canadian Legion Branch 69, told the newspaper that, although he wouldn’t take part in such an event, “people have a right to remember however they want to remember.” He added: “it’s a free country and that’s what our soldiers fought for.”
Remembrance Day marks the signing of the armistice that ended the First World War on Nov. 11, 1918 at 11 a.m.
Why pay tribute to war veterans when you can make divisive political statements instead?
Today is Remembrance Day, where citizens across the nation pay our respects to the men and women who have served for Canada. Many people wear poppies as silent tribute to the war dead, pause for a minute of silence, and deliver ceremonial addresses in honour of Canada’s veterans. In some areas of the nation, however, these addresses tend to stray just a smidgen from the main point. Yup, just a smidgen. And on to campus . . .
Nick Day, Queen’s University’s student rector who has been elected to represent student views on social and financial matters to the university, delivered his laundry list of political talking points Remembrance Day address this morning at a Queen`s university-wide ceremony. Day began by telling the audience how his grandfather served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, fondly recalling passed-down war memories contained in an old, cracked cigar box. And then, according to the transcript Day posted on his Facebook page, he diverted:
The armies of the developed world have an unprecedented technological ability to create death.
What? Did you miss something? Maybe you were fiddling with your red poppy, you jingoistic, war-glorifier you.
I believe [my grandfather] would have a lot to say about several things that, in today’s fragmented world, are left unsaid. He would certainly speak up about the continuing violence done to the First Nations of Canada, who are plagued by disproportionate poverty, crime and incarceration, poor health, and who are disproportionately also the victims of violent crimes.
Day goes on to lament global inaction during the Rwandan genocide, and the so-called “international silence” on Palestinian human rights. (Understandable—perhaps the glare from someone’s white poppy was blocking out most UN declarations on Palestinian issues from the past several decades.) Day finishes off by with a quick stab at the Israeli Defense Force, exaltation of Romeo Dallaire, and then back to his grandfather.
Remembrance Day is a time to honour and remember the nobility of the principles defended by the brave citizens of Canada who have come before us. To honour those principles today, I think, requires us to recognize and stand against the atrocities committed at home and abroad.
In order to truly honour the sacrifices of those who fought for justice, we are now required to speak about new forms of injustice, perhaps ones that are harder to see, harder to recognize, that punctuate the lives of the many abused people of this planet.
No, Mr. Day. In order to truly honour the sacrifices of those who fought for justice, one has to actually deliver more than a line or two about those who fought for justice.
Unfortunately, crass and opportunistic hijacking of public addresses is becoming somewhat of a theme on university campuses. Last month, University of Winnipeg valedictorian Erin Larson used her convocation address to slam Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Her divisive political statements came off as ill-timed, to say the least, but Day may have taken the cake with this one.
Divisive political points have no place in a Remembrance Day address. A ceremony intended to honour the memory of war veterans should do exactly that. To deliberately look the other way demonstrates an inordinate lack of gratefulness towards previous generations, something for which I, as a member of this younger generation, am personally ashamed. Next year, I should hope Day and like-minded individuals wait until the 12th to clear their social consciences.