Remembrance Day is just around the corner, with the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War being commemorated this year.
As the number of veterans who served in that conflict continues to dwindle, some people might question what or who is being remembered. Yet the message of honouring sacrifices made by individuals who did so in order to prevent tyrants from ruling the world and upending democracy is as vital today as it ever was.
Clearly, democracy is under threat in many places where it has been established around the world. That is most alarmingly the case in the United States, where the sitting president has stated he may not transfer power peacefully if he does not get the result he wants in this week’s election, and where he appears to have significant support for that position.
Judging by the crowds of people who continue to come out to the ceremony in Ganges, bringing their children and grandchildren, Remembrance Day is still extremely relevant to many. Things will be different this year, with no parade and physical distancing in effect at Centennial Park. But the local branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, which is responsible for Remembrance Day activities, has done its best to keep the tradition vibrant while respecting rules in order to keep attendees safe.
Salt Spring’s branch of the Legion is also an extremely active organization that has adapted well to the challenges of COVID-19, re-opening under provincial guidelines to provide social opportunities and continuing to raise funds that support so many other non-profit groups in the community.
Islanders can ensure the local Legion branch is there in perpetuity by taking out a membership, patronizing the Legion as a guest, otherwise donating to the cause or volunteering for specific projects.
Poppy sales are also underway, and wreaths can be purchased for the Remembrance Day ceremony, although they will be pre-placed at the cenotaph this year.
Today, more than ever, we must stand together in defence of institutions and ideals that are once again under threat.