Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Remembrance Day. It is now 90 years since the end of World War I, and there are barely any veterans left who served in the trenches.

It is almost 60 years since the beginning of World War II.

I will be observing the two minute silence at 11 am. It is important that we never forget the sacrifices made by those who fought on our behalf all those years ago, and the sacrifices made today by those who still fight, regardless of whether we agree with the wars they are fighting.

In the UK the silence is observed on November 11th, but most of the services are held on the closest Sunday to that date. I'm glad that Canada chooses to grant a public holiday on the 11th, having had a difficult time observing the moment of silence in the middle of an experiment in a busy lab on a working day in Scotland.

I mentioned in a previous post that, one week ago today, we saw Obama's election announced on the big screen at a Vancouver Canucks game. I think that, given a longer break in play, that moment could have become something really special. But it still wouldn't have lived up to something we witnessed at a game two or three Remembrance Days ago.

The Canucks were not doing so well, and worse than their lack of results was their lack of effort. There's nothing a sports fan hates to see more than a team of overpaid athletes not putting heart and soul into their play. So the fans' response to the Canucks team on the ice that night was lukewarm at best.

At a break in the play, there was an announcement that a group of World War II veterans would be coming onto the ice. This group of old men moved slowly into the centre of the rink - and every man, woman and child in the stadium stood up and clapped and cheered. I'm tearing up just remembering that moment. You could see that several of the veterans were crying too. The applause went on and on and on. The players were getting restless on their bench as the break in play stretched to twice and then three times its scheduled length. But the fans chose to honour the true heroes in the building, not the professional athletes.

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)


  1. Nice post.
    By the way, what happened when the team got back on the ice? Did they do any better?

  2. Amanda, it really was - I'll always remember that experience.

    SG, you're welcome!

    XX, thanks! I honestly can't remember if the Canucks smartened up after that, or even if they won the game. So I'm guessing no. At that point the outcome of the game really didn't seem to matter any more - kind of like at last Tuesday's game!


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