In the US Veteran's Day has come and gone. But for Canadians, the same day is called Rememberance Day. Where in the US the date is used as an opportunity to thank those that fought for the nation's freedom, in Canada the date is used as an opportunity to remember those who died while fighting for the nation's freedom (more like the US's Memorial Day).
Another difference between the US and Canada is that Canadians where a red plastic poppy on their coat or lapel or shirt for the days leading up to November 11th. Now, when I first moved to the US in 1992, I would make sure I wore a poppy. Most thought I had picked up a dollar store flower and wear it to be silly (kinda fits my image ... being silly, that is!). It would be perfectly understandable for any individual outside of Canada to not know the poppy's significance.
So, typically, I'd be asked why I was wearing a flower and I'd use the opportunity to share a little bit of Canadiana.
But not this year. This year, I had decided that I didn't want to reveal my culture - rather - I wanted to blend with the new culture I now live in. I mean, my church has heard more stories of snow and hockey in the last 10 months than I'm sure they have heard in the last 10 years! I plan to live in Youngstown for a long, long time - there's plenty of years in the future for me to share my culture.
Then, came the chat in the church foyer ...
I was talking with Kim L. & Dennis N. - talking about Veteran's Day, they told me what they did for Veteran's Day and I mentioned the Canadian tradition of wearing a poppy to remember those soldiers that had died fighting for our freedom. Then, they essentially told me that I should have worn the poppy! I should have know better, but I was surprised ... they were very interested in my culture and thought others would agree with them!
It's amazing really ... that we sometimes think we need to protect the world from us sharing who we really are, when, in fact, it has more to do with us being afraid of what the world might think of us if we were to share who we really are!
So, I've made a decision. From now on, from November 1 to November 11, I'll wear my Poppy. I'll tell the story of Canada's freedom, while at the same time of the year - I will thank a veteran of the US Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force & Coast Guard for their service in securing a freedom that I and my family now enjoy.
THANK YOU, SOLDIERS! I will never forget!