For our readers who don’t know what Remembrance Day is, it’s a day that commemorates the signing of the armistice to end World War I – at 11 am on 11-11 – November 11th, 1918. This isn’t about remembering war. It’s about remembering the arrival of peace – and the sacrifice it took to get there.
Every year around this time, we read about an ongoing debate – should Remembrance Day be a statutory day off, or not? In some provinces in Canada it is, and in others, it is not. According to Wikipedia:
“Statutory holiday in Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.
In Manitoba, an “Official day of Observance”, not a statutory holiday.
In Ontario and Nova Scotia, not a statutory holiday in that employers have the option of giving Remembrance Day or an alternate day off.
Not a statutory holiday in Quebec.”
Each side has a rationale – pro “day off” folks suggest this allows us to have time to remember those who fought for our freedom. They also assert that we can then freely join in on commemorative activities with veterans and their families. The anti side suggests, among other things, that making the day a statutory day off work will result in it being treated as a holiday. We’ve seen some evidence of this ourselves in our home province – this year, with Remembrance Day falling on a Tuesday, many people have taken today off work to “make an extra-long weekend”. For our part, we’re in the office today and open for business. But tomorrow we will be closed. Not because it is a holiday. Because it is, as the name suggests, a day of remembrance. We will join veterans, schoolkids, and local members of the armed forces and police at cenotaph nearby, and remember innocents who lost their lives in pursuit of peace. And when we’re done, we’ll pray for peace anew – perhaps this time, one that persists.
Peace be with you,
Megann and Steve