by David Herman
Today on social media there is so much negativity, fake news, and nastiness I wanted to share a story of kindness and good will that I experienced yesterday. I received a call from my Pastor around 11 yesterday morning. He and his wife had been away all week in Grand Rapids and he said he was between Barrie and Orillia to visit his parents on the way home and he needed a favour. Let me explain: Our Pastor is also the Chaplain for our Royal Canadian Legion Branch 212. He told me that the Legion would be holding a Church Parade in our church the next morning and he needed one red rose. This is required for “The Fallen Soldier’s Table”, which is set whenever the Legion is holding a special supper or event like the Remembrance Day church parade.
There is a strict protocol to setting this very symbolic table as follows. The table is round – to show our everlasting concern for our fallen comrades. The table cloth must be white to symbolize the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty. The single red rose displayed in a vase reminds us of the life of each of our fallen comrades, and the loved ones and friends of those who keep the faith. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to remember our fallen comrades. There is a place set at the table with a slice of lemon on the bread plate to remind us of the bitter fate of those who will never return. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by the families of those who sacrificed all. The glass is inverted as they cannot toast with us who remain at this time. The chair is empty because they are no longer with us. This symbolic act is to remind us that we must remember them and never forget their sacrifice.
With that explanation of why we needed a single red rose, I assured him I would get the required rose. After hanging up with the Pastor, I called our local florist and told her what I needed and why. She said “I can have one for you on Tuesday”. I guess she missed the part about needing it for the Sunday church parade. I asked for help in finding where I could get the single red rose. She suggested the grocery stores, but she was doubtful that they would sell only a single rose. I thanked her for her help and went to plan B. Good old Mr. Google. I searched for florists in Brockville, as I am more familiar with Brockville than the Greater Ottawa. Mr. Google presented me with four choices, and I picked the top of the list as it was rated five stars. I called, and the pleasant voice on the other end listened to my query and said “Yes, she had some lovely red long stem roses and she would sell just one if that was all I required.” I told her I would be there in a couple hours. I looked up the location and knew exactly where they were. When I arrived, I told the girl that greeted me what I was there for and she called to the back that David was here for the single red rose. A reply came back “I am just wrapping it, I’ll just be a minute.” I took a minute to look around the lovely little shop (Colonial Flowers and Gift Shoppe) full of seasonal decorations and floral arrangements. In no time at all, I was told that it was ready. I went to pay and the lady asked if I had really driven from Kemptville to Brockville for a single rose. I explained to her why I was in need of the single red rose and she shocked me by saying that in that case there would be no charge.
This has been a long story to explain that we need to try and filter out the negativity, fake news, and nastiness that is everywhere on the internet and daily news, and look for the good, which is also all around us if we look for it. It also shows the high regard the Legion has for their fallen comrades and the symbols that are used to remind them all the time of the supreme sacrifice that has been made for our way of life. We Shall Remember Them.