In Canada on Nov. 11, we observe Remembrance Day, also known in other countries as Armistice Day or Veteran’s day. It is a solemn day and should be marked with quiet reflection for those who offered themselves to protect and defend our free society and way of life. An honourable service that for many resulted in the most selfless of sacrifice – their life.
Nowadays, Remembrance day is glossed over and disrespected by corporate greed. If you work in retail or customer service, this is no longer a day away from your work to pay your respect to the fallen and the brave. There is not even a pause of somber silence at 11am. It is business as usual.
Consumerism has creeped in on every holiday. Malls and restaurants are open for business like every other day and for the most part, I have begrudgedly resigned myself to this intrusion on our traditional holidays. After all, in a multi-cultural society, not everyone has the same beliefs, or observes the same traditions. I get that.
But to me, Remembrance day is the one exception. Has our society gotten so complacent, so self entitled, that we would rather shop for frivolous frippery than take one day a year to honor our dead. There is nothing folks, I repeat nothing, in a mall that can not wait one day to buy.
Remembrance day is a day that does not favour any religion. It does not support a belief other than freedom for all. What it does do is annually mark our responsibility to remember, to be mindful and honour all of those who gave us the greatest gift of service so that we, as a free society, can enjoy the lifestyle we have today.
No matter what background or culture you come from, you would be hard pressed to find someone who does not have a family member or ancestor who has served in this capacity at one time or other. If you trace back far enough, there is someone. It is for them that we remember.
Disrespecting the sacrifices of the past makes me question how society is losing the importance of being of service. It is my belief that we are here on earth and are given this life, to do 2 things – to experience and to serve others.
A kind, loving world depends on the generosity of everyone. When we experience life, we learn what talents we possess, we learn our strengths, and where we shine. Those are our gifts to the world. To be of service to others is to freely offer those gifts. To give of oneself is the greatest gift a soul can give.
I fear that societies moral compass is pointing off course at present. Just look at all the anger, hostility, protectionism and terror that is infecting our world right now. All emotions that come from an egocentric perspective. A “what’s in it for me” mentality and a mindset of “us” against “them”. There is no service to others here. No freely giving of the gifts of the collective soul that is human kind. Just fear and hate.
Enviably though, conflict follows fear and hate, which brings us full circle to those giving souls who selflessly sign up and offer us the most noble of service in society – to be willing to give their life to protect our own.
So this week, whether you observe Remembrance day on Nov. 11th or not, please take the time to reflect on this sacrifice that thousands upon thousands have made in the past, at present, and in the future so that you can live this day, and every day, free to choose as you like.
But most of all, honour their legacy by committing to be of service to others. Ask yourself, how can I serve? Who can I serve? This world needs your gifts more than ever.
Remember them and then pay it forward. This is our responsibility for the sacrifice they made. They were of service to us, so how can we be of service for them?