Does it dishonour our veterans to go cross-border shopping on Remembrance Day rather than visit a cenotaph ceremony? Regional reporter Jeff Nagel wishes the flyby of vintage warbirds would buzz the southbound lines on Nov. 11.

COLUMN: Veterans paid ultimate price so you could save?

Instead of honouring Canada's fallen, many will mark Remembrance Day with a retail shopping orgy south of the border

I take a somewhat dim view of cross-border shopping at the best of times.

But Remembrance Day puts me over the top.

You can pretty much guarantee that on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, B.C. shoppers will be lined up at the border in an immense, idling column, waiting to advance deep into U.S. territory to invade the malls of Bellingham.

The R-Day landings will once again see battalions of Canadians head south to triumphantly capture retail products for a few dollars cheaper than at home.

Never mind that they had to burn extra fuel to do it, and in some cases subject themselves to iris scans by U.S. authorities for a quicker crossing.

Really, people.

Is this your idea of why Canadian soldiers died on distant battlefields?

They fought to protect your freedoms and the one you choose to exercise – on this of all days – is your freedom to leave Canada for a few hours to pour money into a foreign country, supporting foreign businesses, jobs, taxes and services?

It makes me wish the old WW2 warbirds that perform fly-bys at local Remembrance Day ceremonies would take a detour over to the Peace Arch and buzz the southbound lineup after the minute of silence.

Not for a strafing run but rather a shaming run, ideally with a plane sarcastically towing a ‘Thank You For Your Support’ banner.

Heck, I’d love to see Royal Canadian Legion members mount a ground counteroffensive and go from car to car in the lineup soliciting contributions for the Poppy Fund from these patriots.

Can’t afford that? How tragic. Enjoy your retail conquest. Perhaps you’d like to renounce your Canadian Medicare at the same time?

If you’ve marked me as a sucker who stupidly pays too much when bargains can be had, you’re right.

I do like to shop Canadian.

I like to shop local, too, even when I know it costs more.

My White Rock neighbourhood has a rich diversity of shops, services and restaurants I can walk to from my home. That’s something I value and choose to support because I want those local merchants to still be in business the next time I want to buy groceries without getting in the car.

On Remembrance Day, we also have a scarce commodity we take for granted: the first-hand human knowledge of wars past.

Canada lost its last veteran of the First World War in 2010.

The number of surviving Second World War vets still healthy enough to speak publicly about the events of 70 years ago is rapidly dwindling. Their average age is 89 and the average age of Korean War vets is 81.

Spare them all a thought – as well as Canada’s younger veterans and former peacekeepers who bear their own scars from service – if you find yourself handing over your credit card at a U.S. big box store on Monday.

And consider that you might instead be watching what may be the last ceremony at your local cenotaph with live WW2 vets.

Alas, we’re at no risk of running out of veterans of the Battle For Bellis Fair.

* * *

Jeff Nagel is the regional reporter for Black Press newspapers in the Lower Mainland. Agree, disagree? Post your comment below or tell him on Twitter at @jeffnagel.

Just Posted

Halloween Calendar

Family friendly events happening around Surrey

Surrey landlord’s petition to overturn RTB decision fails

Case involved former tenant evicted from basement suite on grounds his landlord needed it for family

SURREY EVENTS: ‘Classic Scary Movie Marathon’ for Halloween, and more

Concerts, plays, fundraisers and other events in our weekly guide for Surrey

PHOTOS: ‘Young at Heart’ seniors sing and dance again in Surrey ‘bursary show’

The Vaudevillians on Surrey Arts Centre’s main stage Nov. 2-3

Rick Hansen Foundation gives Surrey $105K to make washrooms more accessible

The grants will be used for accessibility upgrades at eight civic sites across the city

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Workers at four Vancouver hotels ratify contract with higher wages, job security

Unite Here Local 40 president Zailda Chan says it’s the first hotel strike in Vancouver in nearly two decades

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read