Friday, November 11, 2016

Remembrance Day 2016

 Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, and traditionally, although I wear a poppy, find moments to express my gratitude for peace and appreciation for War Veterans, Remembrance Day is not a holiday that I usually commemorate. War is not an activity I typically condone.

Today is different. As of Tuesday’s American election, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to express commitment, devotion, love and respect for our country, Canada. I appreciate this place like never before and, as I become more expressive in that appreciation, I strive to activate that patriotism…that love and gratitude that it exemplifies.

My parents, both Americans who lived in the U.S. until their death, taught me the value of commitment and patriotism. My father fought in the second world war and my mom volunteered to do whatever she could to make those years easier for soldiers and the citizens of the U.S. Even through the challenges of the 60’s and 70’s they both struggled to maintain their love for their country and to assert their faith in the political future. Both were ardent Democrats and engaged in ensuring fairness and consideration for all citizens.

I left the United States as a somewhat precocious teenager of 14. At that time I knew only that the country in which I was born was tormented. Engagement in the Viet Nam war in which both my brothers would have participated had it gone on longer, the leadership (and ultimate criminal behaviours) of the Nixon regime, living in a sterile environment of apartment buildings, office towers and subway stations, pushed me to leave. I went to Israel, lived on a kibbutz-like boarding school where I graduated with American accreditation and met a “nice Jewish” Canadian boy. At 18 years, I married, acquired my Canadian citizenship and actively and enthusiastically began my participation in all decisions of our country. I vote, stay informed with politics and maintain active involvement in my community. I consider myself  Canadian only, and except for the fact that I (apparently) still have American citizenship, I feel completely a part of this wonderful country! My life in Canada has been the greatest.

My heart aches for my American family members right now. This is not the United States they grew up into. I feel, strongly, their sadness from ‘the other side’. There is little I can do but let them know that….and to continue to live with honesty and integrity.
I want to remind my children that there is hope in this wonderful world! We must continue to care and to love, and remain active in our pursuit for peace and justice. We remember!!!

Today…Remembrance Day in Canada is a time to reconnect with what matters, to love in the face of adversity and to continue to work towards justice and freedom for all.

I love being Canadian!  Living in Toronto, Ontario was perfect while I was moving into and through my adult years. Growing up our children, developing my career, establishing my ‘purpose’ in life, and grounding myself in community, worked perfectly in the big city then. In Ontario I laid a solid foundation for who I wanted to become. When our ‘job’ there was complete, Paul and I transitioned slowly to British Columbia, and an environment more compatible with our lifestyle.

I appreciate how many people in Canada seem to show that they care for one another. Though it is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, many Canadians often begin a conversation with “I’m sorry”. I don’t like it necessarily, it’s often annoying to me, and yet, I’d rather that than conversation full of attack and blame. Maybe we tend to take more responsibility for our behaviours …sometimes, perhaps, to a fault.

As a society, I think we are less controlled by money. That’s not to say we don’t like money, and that consumerism and commercialism do not exist, but it’s not as prominent as in the U.S. Our roads are not completely lined with billboards. Our vistas do not become hidden by advertisements, and our social system is designed to attempt to ensure that those in need have some sort of safety net. We’re not perfect, and, we keep trying. Ultimately, we do care about each other!

I wish, like Costa Rica, we didn’t have a military. But we do! I also think our military is more involved with peace keeping, rather than overtaking and forcing our life style on other cultures. It’s not perfect, and still, it’s better than some.

We have many challenging times. Thankfully our leadership here in Canada is relatively strong and open minded and driven by justice and fairness. It’s not perfect, and still, it’s better than some. We continue to remember our past to create our future. And together we find ways to remind ourselves to be hopeful and maintain faith in the goodness of humankind. For me that’s what today is about!