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

U-Save property owner files six lawsuits against District of Hope

One of the lawsuits demands $6,200 to undo the work done on the roundhouse.

Rainfall warning issued across Lower Mainland into the weekend

50 to 70 mm of rain expected to fall starting overnight Friday and into Sunday morning

Husband pleads guilty in relation to 2009 killing of Kulwinder Gill

Abbotsford woman died in hit-and-run conspiracy

Raymond Lee Caissie gets life in prison for murdering Surrey teen in 2014

Judge numbers Caissie among ‘violent merciless men without a conscience’

Area A, B lose power, wireless service due to winds

BC Hydro and TELUS are working to restore service.

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

5 to start your day

Sentencing in murder of Surrey teen expected, Maple Ridge mayor to step away from politics and more

Most Read