Regarding the Jehovah Witness’s Objection to Remembrance

legionI posted comments on my blog on Saturday about this subject after reading the front page newspaper article. A Jehovah Witness objected to the public library regarding the story time reading about Remembrance to a class of five and six year old. I was so angry that I wrote a letter to the editor of both island newspapers. I have posted a copy with this blog because I believe people should see it before Remembrance Day. I doubt it will appear in the papers until well after the 11th.


This was the front page headline in the Guardian newspaper story on Saturday 8th Nov 2014. After reading the article I’m angry and very upset too. First of all I’m upset with the official response from Andrew Sprague and his attempt to be inclusive in programs at the public library. Offering a watered down version in place of honouring the men and women who died that we might be free is completely unacceptable. It is especially offensive and unacceptable at this special time of year when Veterans march to the cenotaphs to remember and lay wreaths to their fallen comrades. Religious freedom along with all our many other freedoms was fought and won for us at a tremendous cost in lives and suffering. It is because of our Veterans, Jehovah’s Witnesses are free today to knock on our doors promoting their particular brand of faith. I don’t have an issue with that and even though I have no interest in what they are selling I always treat them with respect. This particular parent could have been respectful too by simply not having her child attend the library story if she felt so strongly about the subject.  However, I don’t think this is about a five or six year old attending story time at a public library. This about the parent of that child demanding her perceived rights and freedoms are respected.   She needs to be asked how she came to have her religious freedom and rights. Perhaps, as she is now denying her own child the opportunity to understand why we wear the poppy,  she too was deprived of learning the meaning of remembrance by her parents.  I wonder if she knows anything about the Second World War? About the NAZI regime and their concentration camps that held not only Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals but also Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The disgusting reaction by this parent is proof that we as a society are losing sight of the values our Veterans fought and died for.. Inclusiveness and political correctness has gone to the extremes. As a Veteran you will never hear me say happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas, and I will say God Bless any time I feel like it. It is surely time for Canadians to stand up and yelled from the roof tops,”It is us who are offended”.  We are tired of minorities who demand we change our ways, our traditions and our values to accommodate them. I lived through the blitz in England during the Second World War, I was often hungry, cold, scared, and for a time homeless. Believe me when I say I understand the meaning of freedom, and believe me when I tell you how much I appreciate my freedom. All our children should be taught the meaning of Remembrance and why we wear the Poppy so proudly at this time each year. God Bless and keep reading

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in Belfast Blitz, family, military, veterans and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Regarding the Jehovah Witness’s Objection to Remembrance

  1. Bert says:

    This story is bang on. Only time when majority rules it seems is the counting of votes on election night. After that it’s minorities rules!

  2. irishroverpei says:

    Thank you for your comments, I appreciate them. and even though I have made my point in the blog, I’m still angry

    • Jean Martin says:

      And you have every right to be, so am I. My Dad was in WW11 and my mother was from Glasgow, Scotland and also lived through the blitz and very hungry times and lots of discomfort. It is because of our brave men and women that we have the rights and freedoms we have today. That parent should be ashamed of herself and so should whoever agreed with her.

      • irishroverpei says:

        Thank you Jean, your parents were my neighbours just across the Irish sea, I was in Belfast during the 1941 blitz.

  3. Tony Miles says:


  4. Jenn Turner says:

    I don’t normally share my opinion on the computer like this but I feel compelled to write and acknowledge my agreement with you. I love the fact that I can freely worship my God, that my education was free, that I am free to speak and eat and dress any way I choose because of the tremendous price soliders fought and died for. One of my daughters is in the process of joining the Armed Forces and while it is a scarey thought for me, I get why she is doing it and respect her choice. The legacy lives on in those serving today and those who will serve in the future to protect our freedom. Thank you for sharing and God Bless you too.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Thank you Jenn for your kind words, I have received so many responses to my original blog and they are all in total agreement, not one nay sayer

  5. Dina Blot says:

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the article about the objection too, and I was angry, as you are….I was so disappointed I couldn’t find the words to express my feelings about this, and although I wrote a reaction on my FB page, you wrote down exactly how I too feel about this. Perhaps a visit to the War Graves in Belgium, my homeland, or in the Netherlands, where I lived for 25 years, and Normandy, France, where the troops landed, might open their eyes, it surely opened mine…….Thank you for our freedom, I WILL ALWAYS remember those who died, fought and still do to keep us safe and free!!!God Bless….

    • irishroverpei says:

      Thank you Dina I appreciated your remarks. You will be pleased to know I have received so many similar responses and to date not one against.

  6. Canadian citizen not happy says:

    Well said in your blog,my feelings are the same,minorities should not have the right to change how we honor those who fought for our freedom and how we for decades have delivered the message of Remembrance Day in our schools and public gathering places, the johovas witness parent needs to realize how much Canada has to offer citizens and respect the way these opportunities were fought so hard for us to enjoy. Big mistake here by library officials or whom ever was making the final decision on this one ! Angry and disappointed here too.

  7. Canadian citizen not happy says:

    I was also angry after reading the article ,the Jehovas witness parent needs to realize how veterans and soldiers fought for Canada so that we have the opportunities that are so great to live our day to day lives with. The minority should not rule in any situation,be it election, or any other situation of importance,fair is fair is what I was always taught growing up and that is what I teach my children everyday. We cannot and will not be bullied into changing an event based on the practices of one person from the group,they should feel free to have the decision to stay and partake in the planned event or leave if it is not something they feel comfortable being exposed to.The public library officials made a big mistake in the handling of this,and I hope this never happens again in our country,especially where young children are trying to learn about this or any other important event in our history. Take a moment to remember and be thankful today and everyday for the freedoms we have.

  8. Clarence says:

    I once associated with the Jehovah’s Witness faith, and was raised in it. They are aware of the torture their people went through during the war, and they are quite proud of it. They believe the atrocities place on them in the war proves they are of the true faith, even going so far as believing the atrocities they suffered at the hands of the Nazis fulfills bible prophesy. As a religion they have an unparalleled arrogance of “respect my beliefs, for we are Gods only true religion”. It’s this arrogance of superiority that entitles them to show a compete disregard and disrespect of all other peoples beliefs, for their feeling is that anyone that is not a member of the JW organization is under the devils control – and ultimately condemned to destruction in Gods impending day of Armageddon.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Wow Clarence thank you for your insight. Very interesting and will make me think twice next time two or three of them come to my door. In the passed I have always treat them with respect, I admired their dedication to their faith. I don’t think I could go door to door prompting my particular faith. Much less respect after your words. Thank you

    • Rose says:

      Reply to “Clarence”. I too was once a member of the JW faith. While I agree with the majority of your statement, there are a few points that I have to take exception to. Yes, JWs are taught all aspects of world history, and they are aware of the thousand of their own members that were murdered for their faith during the wars. Yes, they are taught to believe that their religion is the “true faith”. However, not all JWs believe that anyone who is not a JW is under the devil’s control. This comment is misleading to most people who know nothing of the church’s doctrine. They believe that ALL mankind, including them, is subject to satan’s control, and how each person conducts themselves determines the outcome. Although it is taught during Sunday meetings and Theocratic school, not every witness believes that those not of their faith will “perish”. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract society, (governing body), like any other “cult”, uses threats, fear and control to keep the people in line. While a member of the “faith”, I too felt the pressure to conform to their “way of thinking”. The people at the grassroots level of the Jehovah’s Witness faith are good, god-fearing people and are tying to live their lives in accordance with what they are taught is “God’s will”. Going door to door is what they do to honor what Jesus directed his disciples to do….”go forth and spread the good news…teach what I have taught you”.

      Since I have left the organization, I have spoken to many people who are still members and who are still living in fear of being outcast or shunned, (like myself), should they disagree with those in control.

      Ok, the only reason I commented here is so that anyone who read your comments would not automatically believe that ALL JWs are elitist, “one god, one faith” people. Each and every member is an individual and complicated person……just like anyone in any other faith. When I was a JW, I did not celebrate Remembrance Day. We were told that it was a celebration of dead ancestors. Glorifying the act of war, and those who chose to fight. We were taught not to affiliate ourselves with a nationality or a civic group and so on……it was a control issue for sure. So, do I celebrate Remembrance Day now that I am out? Yes, of course I do. I see it as it really is. A day to pay homage to those who gave their freedom so we could live as we do today.

      So, irishroverpei, or anyone else who read Clarence’s post and thought they now have ammunition to be “unkind” to any JW who next comes to your door, please remember the people who fought and died did so to protect our rights. Don’t condemn one person’s actions, (the lady who spoke out about her child at the library), muddy your opinions of ALL persons of ANY religion. If you do, you miss the point of why those brave men and women went to fight for us in the first place. Peace.

      • irishroverpei says:

        Hi Rose, what a great letter and a clear explanation of JW’s. I may not agree with everything you state but I do agree this would be a very poor reason to treat a JW that comes to your door rudely. Indeed, I have always admired their courage to do so, if my church asked me to do the same I think I would decline. I will continue to treat them in a civilized manner, however they will be wasting their time if they hope to convince me to become a JW. God Bless.

      • Clarence says:

        To Rose,
        I apologize if I gave anyone the idea they should attack or be rude to anyone of any faith, especially members of the JW Organization.
        Near all the people I know/knew in the JW faith are good people, and the do what they do with the the best of intentions and out of concern for their fellow mankind. They preach out of concern for the well being of people who don’t have the same “Spiritual Light” that they have. They feel obliged to warn everyone of Gods pending day of destruction that is near at hand in order to save as many as they can.

        Those that share the faith are considered in the “TRUTH”, and are referred to as sheep like. Those that are not in the “TRUTH”, are classified as goats. Members like you and I that have left the faith, are considered as apostates, or diseased! That’s why our family members shun us, and are STRONGLY encouraged not to have any association with us at all. We miss out on weddings, are ignored at funerals, and missing out on the births of nieces, nephews and even grandchildren.

        My daughter will ever know what it is like to stay over at grandmas house, She will likely never meet her uncle, all because I chose to no longer be a member of their church. There are no “rules” to say they can’t associate with her, they choose not to associate in order to show me how they feel about my decision to leave the faith.

        There are a lot of good people in the JW faith, and a good many of my family are in the JW faith and they are good people. And I wouldn’t want anyone to show my family disrespect at the door. But when they come to your door, like a good sales pitch, they only tell you the good news. I think it’s only fair that the average person know a bit of the deeper teachings and rules, that aren’t brought up on your front door step.

        So I encourage all to be polite and welcoming to everyone who comes to your front door, it’s a right that our men and women in uniform have fought for. But as a responsible individual I also encourage you to ask them about the beliefs I have put forth. Have an intelligent conversation, and a meaningful discussion.

        Everyone should always question what they believe, for if you don’t know what it is you believe in, and why……..then why would you believe in it?

        May everyone be at peace, and respect the beliefs of all.

  9. Nancy Lea-Cooke says:

    I appreciate your comments. I, too, was taken aback when hearing of this incident, and was happy to see you took the time to so eloquently voice what many of us were thinking. Though I am too young to have lived through the second Word War, my maternal grandparents had 7 sons and at least one son in law (my father) serve overseas in WW!!. I never let Remembrance Day go by without thinking about their sacrifice. They were very fortunate in that they all came home, though a number of them were on the front lines.

    • Nancy Lea-Cooke says:

      I appreciate your comments. I, too, was taken aback when hearing of this incident, and was happy to see you took the time to so eloquently voice what many of us were thinking. Though I am too young to have lived through the second World War, my maternal grandparents had 7 sons and at least one son in law (my father) serve overseas in WWII.

      I never let Remembrance Day go by without thinking about their sacrifice. They were very fortunate in that they all came home, though a number of them were on the front lines.

  10. proudtobeacanadian says:

    My father is a 92 year old veteran who served in the second world war, was injured physically and emotionally and carries those scars to this day!! I visited him today in his hospital room.. on this day, a day of remembrance I can think of no other place that I should be, but beside a man who fought for my freedom and gave up so much of himself in the process. My children and the children I teach all know about his sacrifice and the sacrifice of many others.. because without them we would not be able to read the stories, to access the internet, to speak freely about our opinions, to worship God, to work in a career of our choosing…. to be free!! Thank you is not enough!

    • irishroverpei says:

      Thank you Proud Canadian, we need to stand up for all our hard won rights and freedoms. When newcomers arrive in this great nation it is they who must conform to our traditions and our way of life. As Mel Haggard once sang “Love it or Leave it”.

  11. Karen Trainor says:

    As a grandaughter of veterans of both Word Wars, I have been given the right to commorate the sacrifice of ALL Veterans, to teach our children and grandchildren about the sacrifices of our Veterans and to give thanks that they fought to preserve our rights and freedoms – the freedom to choose our government, the freedom of education, the freedom of religion, the freedom to choose our path in life. Our right to have the service of our Veterans past and present recognized is as important as all of our other freedoms and rights. I respect others opinions and beliefs – while I may not share them I don’t demand to have others change to accomodate my beliefs. It is history people – it cannot be changed, rewritten or obliterated just to please a small sector – If you don’t want to participate then don’t – but give the rest of us the right to remember our fallen.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Thank you Karen, we need to stand up for all our hard won rights and freedoms. When newcomers arrive in this great nation it is they who must conform to our traditions and our way of life. As Mel Haggard once sang “Love it or Leave it”.

  12. Ashley Robinson says:

    Bravo! You have a Rex Murphy “Tell it like it is!” attitude. You should be commended for speaking out about this! Thank You

  13. Paula says:

    Racists like you make me sick….so it’s ok to tell 5 year old that his great grandfather shot down his great grandmother’s plane killing them instantly???????????? this is changing times missy and more famillies are interconnected with cultural background and two sides that fought on BOTH sides…get A GRIP

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Paula Wow!!! I sure struck a nerve with you!!! Remembrance day is Racist???? not sure how to draw that conclusion. Nations from all over the world fought against Nazism they were from many cultures,religions and backgrounds. I’m anything but a racist I have respect for all peace loving peoples and I only expect the same respect in turn from them. I’m also never rude in my blogs I respect other peoples opinions, certainly I promote my beliefs when I feel justified as do most people. You on the other hand are decidedly rude, I think you have let your anger run away with you. If as I suspect you are Jehovah witness or perhaps a member of some other angry minority then I suggest it is you who racist Bye the Way Merry Christmas and God Bless

    • baconburner says:

      Paula SHAKE your head and Join the real world Historically the Great Grandfather of the 5 year old could not have shot down his great grandmothers plane as their was limited civil aviation. WE MUST tell our young of the perils of war and of peace. The man who writes this BLOG is so far from being a racist it is in the next dimension.
      So as a fellow Blogger I suggest you check the facts before calling someone a racist. A Proud Canadian Proud Veteran and also a Proud Grandfather of 7

  14. irishroverpei says:

    Thanks Robby, it was quite a letter from Paula, obviously a very angry and rude person. I have to confess I did find her reasoning amusing, I was trying to imagine a grandfather shooting down a grandmother in the Great War!!! I also noted you told her to shake her head, but I think it was more likely her fist that was shaking.

  15. irishroverpei says:

    Actually three emails from Paula, one said “Merry Christmas racist”, the other something similar and just as rude,I deleted them as trash.

  16. Neila says:

    So disappointed the article was “front page news-worthy”. It didn’t deserve any publicity, and the stories should have gone on as usual. Especially with everything that has happened in the past, and recently right in Canada. Great blog ,,,,, I will certainly have some comments the next time a JW knocks on my door.

  17. Donna says:

    Wonderful letter! I’m so happy to hear someone stand up for people like my father and father inlaw (both in WW2 ). I agree that this “Paula” was very rude and it is not necessary but you seem like a real gentleman. My father was a gentle man and respected JW’s as they were neighbours and friends. Keep up the good work.

  18. Edgar biggar says:

    You don’t understand the meaning of freedom. If you did, you would allow people to avoid anything they choose. Also, the story was to be read to 5 year olds. They are much too young to understand about wars and loss and freedom. I am a supporter or remembrance day and wear my poppy with pride for those who fought for my freedom. I’m not sure I would want anyone talking to my 5 year old about what remembrance means. There is plenty of time for that in their lives. They need to be thankful, but move forward with a goal of “never again”

    • irishroverpei says:

      Hi Edgar I assure you I understand the meaning of freedom in a free society,it is called civilization, however it doesn’t mean feel to do as you please that is called anarchy . I’m not sure you read all of my letter, if you had you would have known I said this is was about a 5 or 6 year old it is about the parent demanding the rest of society conforms to her beliefs. Regarding your statement 5 year old is too young to understand about wars loss and freedom, you can believe that if you wish but in my opinion it the age when children begin to understand far more than you are giving them credit for. Finally please don’t tell me I don’t understand because it is only your opinion,and that doesn’t make it correct.

  19. Proud Veteran says:

    Irishroverpei, I too am a Vet and upset about the JW’s. We have a neighbour, and I am quite upset that they do not celebrate Remembrance Day. I think it is insulting to think that they can’t pay respects to the Men and Women who have fought and died for our freedom. It has nothing to do with religion as far as I am concerned. I think you hit the head on the nail with your article, and thank you for posting it. I too was polite when they came to the door, not knowing what Clarence had posted clarifying their believes. But from now on I won’t be quite as polite.
    As for Paula’s comments. Just a rude person, not worth anyones time, and I too wish her a Merry Christmas, and God Bless.
    Again, thanks for your post.

  20. irishroverpei says:

    Hi Clarence once again thank you for your letter of insight into the JW faith. I have to say regarding the part about the family shunning you. That can happen in any family regardless of religion. I will blog a story later about a rather nasty encounter I had with a male Jehovah Witness in 1988.

  21. If you take pride and dying for your country dont judge those who die for God. Stop judging and you won’t be judge. Leave the JW alone.

  22. You guys act like JW are the anti-christ.

    • irishroverpei says:

      Thinking the JW is the only right way is pride before a fall. I don’t think you are the Anti Christ but you do have a devil of a cheek telling everyone else that we are wrong.

      • All I said is stop judging. Stop getting your stockings in a bunch. You cannot expect to blog hateful stuff about the JW and not expect someone to give an opinion different than yours. Resond kick and scream all you want, this will be my last post to you. I don’t have time to be arguing with grumpy senior citizens😂👍

  23. irishroverpei says:

    No you said more!! you said “Leave the JW’s alone” Hey its not me that comes knocking on peoples doors. Plus I said nothing hateful, I said respect the beliefs of others. I have no problems with your opinions just don’t try to force them on me.

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