Remembrance Day (Veterans’ Day in the U.S.) is probably understood as one of our most important memorial days in the year. In its way, it is also a very unifying day, as there isn’t a country in the world that hasn’t been affected by either of the two world wars or any war since then. People from all walks of life, of different ages, and different nationalities, different political affiliations and even different spiritual preferences all understand and appreciate the contribution of those men and women who have served in world conflicts past, present, and future. In a world where our differences should be an enriching component of all our lives, often they turn out to be divisive – but not on Remembrance Day – until this year.
On Sunday, November 11, 2012, a war memorial in Toronto was defaced only hours after the Remembrance Day services concluded.
How sad – and not only sad – how disgusting.
The Victory Peace war memorial in Toronto’s Coronation Park in the west end was inscribed with the words “Canada will burn praise Allah” in permanent black marker. A random passer-by saw the graffiti and called authorities, and in no time, city workers were working to scrub off the offensive words. Unfortunately, the ink has been absorbed into the granite, and workers speculate it may take a couple of days to properly remove the vandalism.
Gord Pierce, the treasurer of Royal Canadian Legion #11, was quoted by CityTV News as saying, “I think it’s sick. Most of the people have died. This is what memorials are there for.” Pierce also said the memorial recognizes the victory in World War II, the result of which is Toronto is a city where many languages are spoken, an article in Digital Journal stated.
At this time police have no suspects, and are calling on the help of the general public to assist in identifying and locating the perpetrator. A video is currently being circulated in the hopes the public will be able to help police.
On Oct 31, Bill C-217 passed a third and final reading in the House of Commons, and amends the criminal code to make “mischief committed in relation to any building, structure or cemetery that honors persons who were killed or died as a consequence of war, a specific criminal offense,” the Digital Journal article reported.
At this time, mischief to war memorials provides for a minimum fine of $1,000 fine for a first offense and a minimum punishment of 14 days in jail for a second conviction. The minimum punishment for a third or subsequent offense is 30 days in jail.