Commentary  Don’t politicize Remembrance Day


There was something fundamentally wrong with last Monday’s feature about Remembrance Day (“What we remember,” November 9, Features, page 10). It is on this day that Canadians remember those who served, not in celebration, but in reverence. It is a powerful moment at 11 o’clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month when Canadians stop for a moment of silence, to remember. I was truthfully shocked to see a fellow McGill student determinately attach as many political issues to Remembrance Day as possible. The author failed to understand the day’s sole purpose: the commemoration of each and every one of the members of the armed forces who served Canada. It is not, as is suggested, exclusionary of ethnicity or gender. All are remembered.

Furthermore, militarism is not a part of Remembrance Day. It is not somehow innately supported through ceremonial salutes, military uniform, or the memorialization of fallen soldiers. This kind of false equivalency is not only intellectually dishonest, but morally deplorable.

Remembrance Day it is not about spreading current-day political agendas as the author advocates. Nor is it about outlining the controversial motives of historical figures, racism of contemporary writers, or the lack of modern-day civil rights in the early 20th century. The mention of current political injustices and revisionist historical perspectives would completely dismantle Remembrance Day’s fundamental purpose. The day was created to remember the fallen, not spout the latest political agenda.

These acts are disrespectful to the millions of Canadians who served in the armed forces. Claims that Remembrance Day promotes the military-industrial complex, white supremacy, and imperialism are absolutely ridiculous. But more importantly, they are completely irrelevant to the purpose of Remembrance Day.

This day is for them, not for any political movement – right or left. Please respect the armed forces, remember their sacrifices, and leave politics at home on Remembrance Day.

—Coltin Lillico, U1 Political Science student