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Survey on Future Remembrance Ceremonies

Furniture

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I'm in agreement with Underway on this one, Remembrance Day is a personal day of reflection. I think the ceremonies should stick to honouring the dead, but the day as a whole is about more than that.

I think most of us here have a personal connection to either family, friends, or co-workers who have died in service to Canada, so remembering their sacrifices will always be paramount for us. The average Canadian is quickly reaching a point where they have no connection to anyone that served, or died for Canada. My generation (millennials) are the last generation to grow up with grandparents who served in WWII, I remember sitting on my grandfather's knee hearing stories about his time in Europe, and about his brother who died in Italy in '44. In my experience Remembrance day has mostly focused on WWI(the tragic war), WWII(the good war), Korea (the "war?"), and Afghanistan(the recent war). Only 40K of us served in Afghanistan, and the veterans/family of veterans from the other wars are quickly fading. If we stick to only remembering the war dead we risk losing connection with Canadians. If we shift the remembrance marketing/events outside of the ceremony on the 11th to include not just the dead, but those that served, we might be able to make it more relevant to Canadians in the future, when the the "war veterans" are all gone.
 

tonykeene

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Veteran Affairs Canada is looking for input on how we conduct Remembrance Day. They have a survey asking questions as they want to change the traditional service. Here is a link to the survey, please provide your vital input.

The future of remembrance in Canada
This is a good idea and I plan to respond. However, the main problem is that VAC does not control Remembrance Day, the Royal Canadian Legion does. In 90 per cent of Canadian Communities, it is run as a Christian church service. Where I live it is a full half-hour of prayers, blessings and invocations, hymns, Bible passages and a full-blown sermon. It isn't about the dead, or veterans. It is entirely about Jesus Christ. I believe they do this deliberately, as a kind of invisible dog fence, to keep out people they don't want. Would be nice if they were all like the one in Ottawa, but they are not in any way close.
 

tonykeene

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I've just completed the survey and I stressed that the day should be secular, in order that all may feel included. The Legion won't like it, but then again, they don't seem to like much.

During my speaking engagements for Historica Canada I often put forth a scenario in which three people join the CF and end up in the same unit. When the unit is warned for operations they go out to Wainwright and while undergoing realistic and intense training, a vehicle goes off the road, rolls over, and one of them is killed.

They then go into theatre, and during an operation under fire, a vehicle goes off the road, rolls over, and another of them is killed.

The third member, who witnessed the deaths of the other two, comes home and after six months of nightmares shoots himself.

I really can't see any difference in the loss, the pain, and the grief.

Thoughts?
 

Remius

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This is a good idea and I plan to respond. However, the main problem is that VAC does not control Remembrance Day, the Royal Canadian Legion does. In 90 per cent of Canadian Communities, it is run as a Christian church service. Where I live it is a full half-hour of prayers, blessings and invocations, hymns, Bible passages and a full-blown sermon. It isn't about the dead, or veterans. It is entirely about Jesus Christ. I believe they do this deliberately, as a kind of invisible dog fence, to keep out people they don't want. Would be nice if they were all like the one in Ottawa, but they are not in any way close.
Is that an an actual fact? That in 90 percent of communities these are run as Christian services? Legit question.

Would it not make sense though if the majority of communities conducting Remembrance Day ceremonies or services are actually strongly Christian in population make up?

where do you live if you don’t mind me asking?
 

dimsum

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Would it not make sense though if the majority of communities conducting Remembrance Day ceremonies or services are actually strongly Christian in population make up?
You're probably right, but the RCL isn't specifically a Christian organization. So, there is no need for their services to have a Christian aspect to it.
 

tonykeene

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Is that an an actual fact? That in 90 percent of communities these are run as Christian services? Legit question.

Would it not make sense though if the majority of communities conducting Remembrance Day ceremonies or services are actually strongly Christian in population make up?

where do you live if you don’t mind me asking?
I live in a small rural community in south central Ontario, between two medium-sized cities. The Legion in both has a lock on all commemorative events such as RD, Battle of Britain etc and they all consist of a endless program of prayer, blessings, invoations and Bible readings, often with a benediction at the end. In one of these cities, RD resembles a good old southern tent revival. The Legion chaplains would look good in expensive three-piece white suits with pinkie rings. In 2017 I was on parade for 25 minutes for the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. The only person who mentioned Vimy was the MPP; everyone else talked about Jesus.
 

Good2Golf

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I live in a small rural community in south central Ontario, between two medium-sized cities. The Legion in both has a lock on all commemorative events such as RD, Battle of Britain etc and they all consist of a endless program of prayer, blessings, invoations and Bible readings, often with a benediction at the end.
I assume that there is not an RCAF Association Wing in your community, then? RCAFA BoB ceremonies are, for what you have described in your community, notably less religiously flavoured.
 

tonykeene

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You're probably right, but the RCL isn't specifically a Christian organization. So, there is no need for their services to have a Christian aspect to it.
This is the problem, actually. The Legion consists of about 240,000 people, only a relative handful of whom have any Canadian Forces service. The average member is a blue-collar white male, high school grad and social conservative. They only know one way to run things, and that is with opening prayers and so on. I was a member of a small city Legion for 20 years, and quit after failing to even move them off square one on this. In fact, my requests for inclusivity was often met with the piling on of even more, to put me in my place. The end came in 2004, after I returned from my fourth operational deployment. I had asked for the Grace at the annual veterans dinner to be more inclusive, and the past-president (all 275 pounds or more of her) stuck her finger in my medals (I was in scarlet mess dress) and said: "If you don't like the way we do things, you can wit in the hall until we're finished." So I went out into the hall, down the stairs and out the door. And I'm not going back.
 

Blackadder1916

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While tonykeene may be overstating the percentage of ceremonies that turn into full blown religious services (but perhaps not by much), if one did a look through of the RCL's Ritual, Awards and Protocol Manual, you would find in their ceremonial protocols a liberal sprinkling of prayers, hymns, benedictions, blessings, graces, scripture readings and invocations. To be honest, they do make the suggestion that a divine service "should" be ecumenical.

Even the VAC suggestion has a strong hint of religion.
A Suggested Service of Remembrance
  • Opening Remarks
  • Poems
  • Prayer
  • Act of Remembrance
  • Last Post (Bugler)
  • Silence (Two minutes)
  • Lament
  • Commitment to Remember
  • Wreath Laying (as an option, hymns can be performed during the wreath laying)
  • Blessing
  • National Anthem(s)
 

tonykeene

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I assume that there is not an RCAF Association Wing in your community, then? RCAFA BoB ceremonies are, for what you have described in your community, notably less religiously flavoured.
Essentially RCAFA here has collapsed. The Legion runs everything; they include CAVUNP but those guys are just as white and out of sight as the Legion.
 

tonykeene

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While tonykeene may be overstating the percentage of ceremonies that turn into full blown religious services (but perhaps not by much), if one did a look through of the RCL's Ritual, Awards and Protocol Manual, you would find in their ceremonial protocols a liberal sprinkling of prayers, hymns, benedictions, blessings, graces, scripture readings and invocations. To be honest, they do make the suggestion that a divine service "should" be ecumenical.

Even the VAC suggestion has a strong hint of religion.
That's interesting. In 2015 the Surpeme Court of Canada ruled in the Saguenay case that government (all levels) in Canada must remain neutral on the subject of religion. This means government cannot conduct religion, promote it, or even suggest it, and all government functions and services must be completely secular. This is resulting in a slow but steady change in military ceremonies such as Colours etc, and recently I believe the Army Commander ordered an end to regimental church parades. I wonder if the Saguenay decision might mean VAC shouldn't even be putting this format out there.
 

daftandbarmy

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This is the problem, actually. The Legion consists of about 240,000 people, only a relative handful of whom have any Canadian Forces service. The average member is a blue-collar white male, high school grad and social conservative. They only know one way to run things, and that is with opening prayers and so on. I was a member of a small city Legion for 20 years, and quit after failing to even move them off square one on this. In fact, my requests for inclusivity was often met with the piling on of even more, to put me in my place. The end came in 2004, after I returned from my fourth operational deployment. I had asked for the Grace at the annual veterans dinner to be more inclusive, and the past-president (all 275 pounds or more of her) stuck her finger in my medals (I was in scarlet mess dress) and said: "If you don't like the way we do things, you can wit in the hall until we're finished." So I went out into the hall, down the stairs and out the door. And I'm not going back.
black and white ugh GIF by Hyper RPG
 

Weinie

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That's interesting. In 2015 the Surpeme Court of Canada ruled in the Saguenay case that government (all levels) in Canada must remain neutral on the subject of religion. This means government cannot conduct religion, promote it, or even suggest it, and all government functions and services must be completely secular. This is resulting in a slow but steady change in military ceremonies such as Colours etc, and recently I believe the Army Commander ordered an end to regimental church parades. I wonder if the Saguenay decision might mean VAC shouldn't even be putting this format out there.
Did that include smudging/tobacco burning ceremonies, or was that considered a third rail? 🍿
 

mariomike

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Every year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we gather in memorial parks, community halls, workplaces, schools and homes to stand in honour of all who have fallen.

No one gathered in our workplace. That's for sure. It was a day off with pay for the office staff.
I think most gathered at the mall to get a start on their Christmas shopping.

For those of us on operations, we wore our poppies. But, the hits kept on coming, and there were no gatherings.

If the employee works on the actual holiday the employee will be paid two (2) times his regular rate of pay for the time so worked and in addition shall be paid for the full day or night at his regular rate of pay.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Here in North Van , there is a "Veteran Council" that plans Remembrance day, yes the legion runs it and thee is one prayer in the whole time, but a lot is about the sacrifice involved. The big topic has been to make it more inclusive to Korean and Afghanistan vets. We have a speech by Cadets, the French Consulate and several others. The other big issues are who is in front of who.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Did that include smudging/tobacco burning ceremonies, or was that considered a third rail? 🍿
LOL, every consultation meeting generally starts with a prayer. Really funny at a big meeting with about 60 people and some of are more senior people and they ask the chief to do a prayer, so he does a full on Christian one and I enjoyed watching my management squirm. they are so hypocritical it's not funny.
 

dimsum

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Did that include smudging/tobacco burning ceremonies, or was that considered a third rail? 🍿
Honest question - aren't they more "cultural" vice "religious" ceremonies though?
 

tonykeene

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Honest question - aren't they more "cultural" vice "religious" ceremonies though?
The point is not whether they are religious or cultural. The court decision does not ban any ceremonies; it simply says government doesn't do them. COs and chaplains are supposed to assist members in holding such ceremonies, but don't run them under command authority any more. Theoretically personnel should not be coerced into attending, but we all know the guys with the pacesticks don't always understand.
In other words "soldier driven" is OK; "command driven" is not.
 

tonykeene

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You're probably right, but the RCL isn't specifically a Christian organization. So, there is no need for their services to have a Christian aspect to it.
Again, religion isn't determined by the majority. It's determined by the individual. A Sikh in Kamloops is still a Sikh in Restigouche.
 

Weinie

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Honest question - aren't they more "cultural" vice "religious" ceremonies though?
I don't know.

When I google it I get several responses.

One from "Smudging Meaning and Ceremony: Spiritual Cleansing | Gaia states:

As the smudging ceremony is practiced, the smoke rises and so do the prayers to mother earth, father sky, to the sun and the moon, to the plants, the animals and the water. The burning of the sacred plants- sage, cedar, sweetgrass and palo santo- to name a few, support the connection to the sacred realms between the earth and spirit. Through this connect to spirit the smoke bath lifts negative feelings and energy and creates an opening for prayers and intentions to be heard, therefore bringing positive intention into practice.

I guess you pick the name of your "gods' or who you worship/pray to based on your own particular cultural slant on what constitutes religion/faith within your group. I am interested in whether the SC decision above addressed this, and if they rendered a decision, why.
 
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