Wear­ing a poppy isn’t the only way to pay trib­ute

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“We are the Dead. Short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sun­set glow, loved and were loved. And now we lie in Flan­ders fields.”

— From the war poem In Flan­ders Fields writ­ten by Cana­dian physi­cian Lieu­tenant-colonel John Mccrae

Since the end of World War I, the war in which In Flan­ders Fields was writ­ten, Re­mem­brance Day is ob­served by Com­mon­wealth Na­tions like Canada to hon­our civil­ians and mil­i­tary per­son­nel who lost their lives in armed con­flicts, pro­tect­ing the free­doms each of us is en­joy­ing right now.

There are many ways in which you can of­fer your ap­pre­ci­a­tion this year. Join the con­ver­sa­tion us­ing your so­cial plat­forms and #Canadare­mem­bers. And when Canada does re­mem­ber on Satur­day, Novem­ber 11th at 11:00 a.m. — ac­tu­ally do it. No­body is so im­por­tant or cool that a text or chin­wag can’t be paused for sixty sec­onds. That pause gives in­cred­i­ble ben­e­fits back: we free our­selves mo­men­tar­ily from the man-made chains of what we think we “had” to do; a pause is true peace; that pause is clar­ity of mind for one minute that most rarely gift them­selves with; and, in rec­og­niz­ing a mo­ment as holy, we are re­minded that ho­li­ness is in all mo­ments, if we choose.)

While some are al­most mil­i­tant about sham­ing peo­ple who aren’t wear­ing pop­pies (for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons), I sug­gest you can still be pa­tri­otic with­out nec­es­sar­ily wear­ing one.

Talk to a home­less vet on the street all year round – not just on Nov. 11. Do­nate to the cause – and guess what? You don’t have to take the poppy if that’s not your thing. Lobby your politi­cians


to treat vets better when it comes to health and ben­e­fits. Re­mem­ber­ing our vets should be a daily habit, not just be­cause it’s in fash­ion to wear a poppy or take a mo­ment of si­lence.

As a young gay man liv­ing in a ho­mo­pho­bic world, I know all too well the free­doms that were fought for me — even if many LGBTQ+ men and women had to be in the closet to serve for sev­eral wars.

I’d like to pro­pose an­other way to hon­our those who lost for us. In this time of global strife, let’s use Re­mem­brance Day as a spring­board to re­mem­ber on all days some­one who enriched our lives.

It is the ul­ti­mate thank you, to spend the free­dom that peo­ple died for in con­scious daily grat­i­tude to­wards even more peo­ple from whom we then ben­e­fit­ted. If you are draw­ing breath right now, there is an end­less list of peo­ple you can re­mem­ber and hon­our daily. We owe our sol­diers AND civil­ians.

We will pause on Re­mem­brance Day and feel the mag­ni­tude of what was given in war so we, fu­ture un­known gen­er­a­tions, can lead in­spir­ing lives; keep­ing the con­tin­uum and mo­men­tum of re­mem­brance and thanks is not just easy but right.

I could fill months of daily re­mem­brances with a name per day of a woman who has played an enor­mous role in shap­ing me. I could also thank count­less LGBTQ+ peo­ple — be­fore me and here still — ev­ery day, peo­ple with­out whom I’d be noth­ing with­out. Teach­ers and men­tors — there’s an­other slew of re­mem­brance to in­clude that I wouldn’t have were it not for the sac­ri­fice of sol­diers. My par­ents, too, and just this week, I was at my doc­tor of 20+ years, I gave both him and his long­stand­ing right-hand woman a thank you card each for their kind care. (I also thanked my doc for hav­ing re­ally awe- some hair over the years.) Friends come and go, but even the ones I am no longer a match for, I will thank and re­mem­ber them.

Re­mem­ber­ing is think­ing. Thoughts have en­ergy (mea­sured in hertz by science). Thoughts of re­mem­brance and ap­pre­ci­a­tion in­ject enor­mous pos­i­tive en­ergy into the world. Try it now — think and re­mem­ber and hon­our some­one for a fun minute; I’ll wait.

Now, note how good you feel within. This is the pos­i­tive en­ergy we’d im­bue into the world with a daily pause, re­flec­tion and thank you. It can be done upon wak­ing, be­fore sleep or a meal – this is how change is cre­ated.

It’s the very heart­beat of the “why” those who lost their lives in armed con­flict did: in or­der that you and I could have the great lux­ury of liv­ing better than most, but also the joy­ful wis­dom to value it so much that we never stop re­mem­ber­ing and never stop thank­ing.

The Shaun Proulx Show airs on Siriusxm Canada Talks chan­nel 167. He is the pub­lisher and Shaunproulx. com. Tweet me @Shaunproulx for your spir­i­tual ad­vice.

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