Cloverdale hosted Surrey’s largest Remembrance Day ceremony Monday

Time to remember

Peace Arch News readers sound off about a number of issues that arose this past Remembrance Day.


I was one of a large number of people attending the Remembrance Day ceremony at White Rock City Hall.

While I found the occasion moving and well organized, I was disappointed at one aspect of public decorum. I am referring to the audience’s apparent need to applaud on a couple of occasions.

This is not a hockey game; it is a ceremony, and one does not applaud after the National Anthem and certainly not after the bugler’s playing of The Last Post.

Perhaps we should ask our schools to teach our children about this point of public behaviour, since apparently a large number of adults are not aware of it.

Jim Armstrong, Surrey

• • •

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month is something I have been taught is a moment of deep reflection and gratitude.

My gratitude is to the veterans who protect this country I am privileged to call home. My dad – a proud member of the RCAF serving in the Second World War and peacetime – taught me and my family that we must never forget. Additionally, being raised in the military has given me a deep sense of respect for ceremonial protocol.

Dad died in May of this year, so being in attendance at this years’ cenotaph services had a new meaning of remembrance for me.

I found it confusing at our cenotaph this year, when standing behind the memorial near a tented area with a white rose on each chair, when no one came to sit in these chairs. My assumption was this was an area where our honoured and aging – average age 86 – veterans could sit through the service.

I can only imagine the chairs and roses had significance somewhere in the initial grand plan. I thought this would have been a wonderful moment to have the youth ambassadors escort the veterans to their place of importance. Perhaps the tent could be moved to the north just a little so veterans could have the best view of the wreath laying?

Add to my confusion when the Master of Ceremonies asked the audience if they minded acknowledging the two minutes of silence at 10:47 a.m.? I do not believe the time of 11 a.m. is negotiable, is it?

It was evident the schedule was operating ahead of time, which certainly is not an issue, but it would clearly have been easy to have one of the ministers lead us in prayer to fill in the required time.

With all due respect to the organizers, I suggest the significance of this time is not negotiable and should be given its due place of honour.

Gwynne Whitby-Thomas, White Rock

• • •

I commend Peace Arch News and associates for their strong support of Canadian veterans, present and past. First, the excellent article on the Equitas Society presently working for just treatment of Canadian Afghan veterans, especially the wounded (Court, ombudsman back veterans group’s claim, Oct. 10). And second, the enlightening interview with RCN veteran Reginald Vose, relating his lengthy service to Canada in the Second World War and Korea (Veteran awash with memories of duty, Nov. 7). We all admire and respect his contribution.

However, it must be a misunderstanding in the statement in the latter article, “there were no combat-related naval fatalities for Canada” in the Korean war.

I am acquainted with the son of Lt. Cmdr. John L. Quinn who was killed-in-action along with two other crew members, with seven others seriously wounded on Oct. 2, 1952 serving aboard HMCS Iroquois, which sustained a direct hit on the aft gun deck while shelling North Korean troop trains. Also, I have been informed that seven additional naval fatalities during that war are named at the War Memorial in Calgary, Alta.

I submit this information in the spirit of honouring our many veterans and their families who all should be remembered.

Howard Gillard, Surrey

• • •

Re: Veterans paid ultimate price so you could save?, Nov. 7 column

I do take issue with much of Jeff Nagel’s column.

My father and grandfather fought overseas for our “freedom.”

One of the largest causes of cross-border shopping is a large tax burden on sales in Canada. Sales, income, realty, import, business taxes, among others, factor into all costs.

The first reaction to my point is likely to be the lifestyle benefits we receive in Canada. Point taken, but I doubt our veterans put their lives on the line so that federal senators could run up hundreds of thousands of taxpayers dollars on travel and the maintenance of two homes. In the meantime, many veterans are apparently needing health care to deal with their injuries and are wanting at the hands of the federal government.

I also doubt they contemplated B.C. spending $66 million on a bureaucracy to protect aboriginal children without any benefit or services to the said children.

I also doubt they figured on citizens anteing up, so that White Rock city councillors could keep up with the compensation of other comparable municipalities’ councillor compensation, while not able to keep realty taxes at a comparable level, and having some deficiencies in terms of infrastructure and services.

Now, to paraphrase former prime minister Kim Campbell, these issues may be too important to be discussed in an election campaign, but I suspect many cross-border shoppers are expressing their freedom by voting with their feet and wallets.

I personally don’t shop in malls on either side of the border, but I do buy gas and play golf in the U.S.

I think that greed is pretty widespread and very contagious. It infects not only big business, big labour and government, but is spreading to us consumers, as well. Financial considerations will almost always affect human behaviour.

On a different note, I think Nagel’s suggestion of selling poppies in the southbound automobile lineup is a terrific idea, which might be something I would volunteer for.

Bob Holden, White Rock

• • •

Thank you, Jeff Nagel, for your well-written column on attending a Remembrance Day service and not cross-border shopping.

Lea Radford, Surrey

• • •

It is Friday afternoon and I have just returned from Bellingham with a full gas tank and a six-pack of beer. I plan on travelling to Bellingham on Monday, Nov. 11, not to shop, but to golf.

Yes, soldiers of many countries died on distant battle fields. They fought and died to protect everyone’s freedom – freedom to decide where we want to shop and when we want to shop.

They certainly did not fight and die to have Nagel dictate to people how they should live their lives.

I have great respect for veterans. My father, who fought in the Second World War, and my grandfather, who fought in the First World War, told me of the horrors of war. However, they never lectured me as to how I should live my life or where and when I could go shopping. So, Jeff Nagel’s tirade has no effect on me.

However, his comments regarding having the WW2 warbirds buzzing the southbound lineup and having the Royal Canadian Legion members soliciting contributions for the Poppy Fund at the border I find shameful. Have these people not done enough for Nagel by just going to fight a war? Now he wants them to do his dirty work at home.

He should get out himself and embarrass people at the border, if that is what he thinks is required, or rent a plane to carry his banner.

He should stand up and be a man, fight his own fight and leave the veterans in peace on Remembrance Day. They deserve at least that.

Ian Routledge, White Rock

• • •

Re: Variety show…, Chamber music…, Stella Maris…, Nov. 7.

I was privileged to attend the Remembrance Day concert with two grandchildren at Good Shepherd Church performed by the Stella Maris Choir with conductor Trudi Stammer, accompanist Henri Lorieau and reader Kip Barker.

As I listened to those beautiful sounds, a little voice in my head kept saying “why could they not have done this before?” Finally, a much more powerful voice said “never mind – they did it and did it with great beauty, sensitivity, dignity and appropriate solemnity – may God bless them all.”

Gerry O’Keefe, Surrey

• • •

As a veteran – RCAF 21 years – and a professional musician, I find it strange that we have a number of musical shows advertised as “Remembrance Day” presentations that are also asking a ticket price of $10 or $20 for entry.

We know all about the commercialization of Christmas; is Remembrance Day now suffering the same fate?

If artists are doing these shows in sincerity, I would like to see the proceeds donated to the Poppy Fund of the Canadian Legion. As well, anyone attending should give what they can – some can’t afford $20.

P.S. I enjoyed columnist Jeff Nagel’s opinion on cross-border shopping on Remembrance Day.

J. Fortin, Surrey

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