Last Tuesday, just seconds before going on air to do a news opinion spot, I was handed a poppy to wear so I could mark Remembrance Day. On instinct, I declined.
I had only seconds to make that choice and after the taping was done, agonized over my decision. Listening to the stories all over the radio about the sacrifices made by men and women who went to war, I had a flash of guilt. How could I have refused to honour these brave soldiers? What was I thinking?
I tried to retrace my process. I feel real sorrow for the thousands of men - mostly boys, really - who were thrown into those stinking world war one trenches. If they returned at all, they were never the same, wholly traumatized by their brutal war experience. Speaking as a Jewish woman, I'm grateful that Hitler was defeated in World War II. But there's something about Remembrance Day ceremonies that disturb me.
They seem to be only about one thing - celebrating the soldiers. They don't question the horror or war and the military machinery that throws helpless young men into the fray. Our World War II soldiers were conscripted - they had no choice but to fight - and the young men who made the so-called ultimate sacrifice had no control over whether they would go and where they would do battle.
If the intention of Remembrance Day is to salute soldiers for their efforts, and acknowledge their pain, then why not talk about war, what gets us into wars, who benefits, which economic interests thrive on war? We hear nothing of that, to the point where all the coverage of last Tuesdays ceremonies read more like propaganda than a proper salute.
And what about what happens to women as a result of war. Thirty years ago I participated in a Remembrance Day demonstration outside City Hall just after the official ceremonies. Members of Women Against Violence Against Women erected a home-made cenotaph that carried the words For Every Woman Raped In Every War.
It didn't go over well, which was no surprise. Who wants to hear about these kinds of female war-time casualties? And besides, to mention rape is to suggest that soldiers - even some of our soliders - might be implicated.
To be fair, CBC Radio ran an item featuring a woman whose dad returned from World War II suffering from what we would now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and beat her up repeatedly. It was a poignant story and exactly the kind of coverage we should be getting when Remembrance Day rolls around.
As it is, I felt like, if I put on that poppy, I was saying yes to the military establishment that continues to treat young men and women as disposable objects, yes to the military values that promote machismo within the army and make the term gay soldier an oxymoron, yes to the assumption that war is a necessary strategy for resolving conflict.
And I just couldn't do it.