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Murphy’s Logic: Respect our cenotaphs

The cenotaph occupies a special place of honour in communities large and small. On Nov. 11 each year, it becomes the focal point of Remembrance Day services. Otherwise, cenotaphs stand tall in public squares looking very much like any other monument.

But they’re not.

The Royal Canadian Legion, which erected and maintains many of them, explains on its website that while monuments are “structures that pay tribute to the achievements, heritage or ideals of a person, group, event or time in history,” the cenotaph honours and remembers those killed in conflict.

It is, in essence, an empty tomb for those whose mortal remains are somewhere else. It’s a sacred place. In Canada, it is a criminal offence to commit mischief in such a place.

It’s not a crime to sit and eat lunch on the cenotaph, or to allow children to climb all over it, or leave garbage behind, on, and around it, all of which I’ve seen lately -- but it is disrespectful.

I would like to think that some of the people doing these things just haven’t thought about it. I wish they would.

Yes, those who fought and sacrificed their lives won the very freedom that allows such behaviour. But our responsibility to honour them demands better.

At the cenotaph, every day is Remembrance Day. Top Stories

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