Remembrance Day 2013

Yesterday I once again was proud to March and participate in our Remembrance Day ceremony with many of our Police Officers, Firefighters, Paramedics and Correctional Officers. We proudly follow the Cadets and Veterans in a ceremonial march to and from our cenotaph and stand behind our Veterans during the ceremony.

Unfortunately there continues to be controversy about my opinion as to who should march. I very much regret this and have apologized to the Legion for any issues this has created for them.

Let me explain how we got to this point. Remembrance Day 2010 as we formed up at the Legion, for the first time a number of “Bikers” lined up as well, and I was surprised to see them stay and walk along in the parade, I thought was very unusual and maybe a onetime thing, but they returned in 2011. That year a few of them walked up to us as we stood in formation taking head shots (pictures) of our officers. This is a practice of criminal biker gangs to develop an inventory of officer’s pictures for intimidation and intelligence purposes. Many of my officers complained to me and asked “why are they allowed to march?” I wondered too, as I felt the parade portion of the ceremony was limited to the group I have mentioned (occasionally elected officials join in), for me the march is a visual reminder of the men and women that marched off to war. I explained to the Legion that in my opinion that it was inappropriate for them to walk in the march and that if this continued I would attend the ceremony but not march.

A few days before Remembrance Day 2012 the President of the Charity Riders called me complaining that I wouldn’t let them march, I explained my concerns and reiterated this was a Legion decision. They complained in the media and some followed up with a story, I responded to those that did.

This year a week before Remembrance Day the president of the Charity Riders called and we spoke again. I again explained my position. I found it inappropriate for them to march and that they should in my opinion continue to participate by attending the ceremony and laying a wreath, any veteran including any of their members should march. Later in the week media showed up while I wasn’t in the building and were told, as I had instructed, I responded last year and would not be doing so again.

Unfortunately members of the Charity Riders have given interviews saying:

• “They have members that are Veterans and they should be allowed to march.” Every Veteran, including members of the Charity Riders is welcome to march, the Charity Riders know that;
• “They were not allowed to participate in the ceremony or lay a wreath.” They participated fully and like many other organizations, community groups and family members do, laid a wreath.

I recognize that saying otherwise makes for a better story, a fictional story.

Many may still not agree with my opinions, but I reserve the right to express them, it is that freedom that our Soldiers fought, and continue to fight for.

Respectfully.

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25 thoughts on “Remembrance Day 2013

  1. Other charity-based clubs , such as the Lions and Shriners, are allowed to participate and march wearing their club uniforms and colorful vests. Your discrimination is based on personal bias.

  2. Mr. Hagarty, thank you for clarifying your point of view. I can see how you and your officers would feel intimidated by the photo shots, I for one would also feel uncomfortable with these actions. Maybe if they were allowed to follow at the back of the parade would not compromise the meaning of of paying our respect to the “fallen” and “living” soldiers… I’m glad they are involved in the laying their wreaths due to respect of their service also and the loss of a loved one. This is a time for respect to our soldiers, not having to worry about who attends, but I truly respect your reasoning, for our police sevice is to protect us in every circumstance… so for this, I say Thank You for showing the true concerns of your statement… Pauline Styles

    • Pauline since when did the police decide who takes part in a veterans parade? Is that not a decision for the Legion? Am I missing something? Also, as I have asked below is it against the law to take a police officers photograph outside? I don’t believe it is and I’ll be waiting for the official response to that question. The chief seems to say that these ‘bikers’ were members of an organized crime group. Does that seem like a reasonable conclusion based on the assertion that some of them were taking pictures of the police? Pretty scant evidence I think but again I’m willing to be proven wrong on this. The chief looks like his first priority was the ‘feelings’ of his officers and the veterans came second.

      • come on , whats the day about, some of your sorry ass people blew it for everyone by fkin around taking pictures that had nothing to do with the day , give me a good explanation if you can, and as for any vet being not allowed , your simply put full of shit on that , bind and be strong and do it right, stop embarrassing yourself by childish behavior , how about , sorry about the pic s legion and chief , man up to a fk up and truly support your veterans by your action not reaction, as for the rest of the yr, may the sun shine on you, really

    • Pauline,
      While I agree with most of what you and Chief Hagarty have said, I also agree with Randy’s statement. If an organisation (and I’m not saying that this particular group of RIDERS has done so) provides time and/or funds to Veterans and/or their families, why should they not be included?

  3. You are entitled to your opinion. What about the law? I was wondering is it illegal to take photographs of people (including police) in a public place? I was under the impression that unless there was an expectation of privacy (private space, inside a house, etc) you could take a persons photograph.

  4. I am a Kawartha Charity Rider. I am also a Social Worker. Many of us are professionals within our community. I am also the one who was taking pictures. I also took those pictures to my family member, whom was a big part of our local legion and he has recently passed, so the legion had photo memories. When I spoke with Julian Fantino years ago, while shooting a police graduation, he thanked me. I was told an officer should be proud to have their photo taken. Not at any time did anyone ask me to stop. The majority of the force knows me for community involvement and should not have felt threatened. I am not a criminal nor would I ever give my photos to any criminal organization. I am an individual whom was born and raised in this community. I will continue to do what I believe is best for this community. If our own parliament can welcome those in leather biker attire to not just participate, but speak, why can I not?

    • Some people are always judging by outward appearance and making generalizations. In this case I think that may be the case and look what happened. I think the way this was handled was ham handed. Still no response to the question about the law as it applies to taking photographs of people in public places. Why the assumption that someone was up to no good? Going forward the ability and right of people to photograph the police in public places is something the police really need to get used to. Throwing a few dusty bikers under the bus here won’t change anything.

    • you were the only one shooting head shots? for what?, a family member ? Do you think all chiefs have the same policy? Awe just because Julian says all cops should be proud of having their head shot being taking shows hes an asshole too, when a cop goes undercover and gets fucked up because some one took his head shot and passed it around wehter you like cops or not it sucks, that could be the guy you need one day, shit I guess as a social worker , you think this ok. Really?, where do you would in filing at the employment office, Come on. Sorry , dude I worked at CMH justice division, co-operation goes a long way. you should be ashamed of your self, If your not a vet , you earn the right to march and keeping on doing it or step aside , let the vets walk and bitch later , some support your actions some don’t , all would have, if you handled it right.
      Having said that , will anyone post in your support, cops, priest , co-workers? , I would like to see it.
      The name of your club is impressive and I truly mean that, clubs like yours cause a positive reflection on all of us, keep up that part, charity never stops

      • It was me taking the photos and if anyone else was, it was a parade. So you are implying that individuals in the public eye are not to have their photo taken during public events such as parades?? This means hundreds…thousands of people need to be addressed about this!!! As for the chiefs having the same policy, it is not a policy, it is a personal reflection that we need to deal with that now because the Santa Clause parade is coming up and police attend that parade as well, every year!!! I never at all said I do not like cops. I know there are many good ones and respect the majority of them on the force. This community is fortunate to have many good ones!! My ultimate issue with this whole situation is the stereotyping and the lack of professionalism of our chief. I attempted to discuss this with him last year, wanting to work everything out. Ultimatums did not have to be given to the Legion then passed along to us. We were invited individuals whom have veterans within our club. (How many officers are veterans???) We graciously excepted because of the meaning it had to our own members as well as our families. The majority of individuals in the parade are not veterans. Individuals attend and march to support the meaning. Rules and regulations come before personal belief and ultimatums. Respect is given to those who respect. In closing, using your personal power to support your personal agenda is unacceptable and needs to be addressed by the police services board. If it is not addressed then further actions will need to be put into place.

  5. I will say this as the last words spoke for this conversation on my behalf… ” I shall as always; Walk by faith, not by sight” come Rememberance Day… My memories for the Veterans and the ones who proudly are still serving deserve better then this… They fought and are fighting FOR PEACE… can we find this, for one day a year on behalf of our SOLDIERS???

    • I agree with you Pauline. I’m tired of people taking the focus on themselves as opposed to the veterans. Do you see me making a stink because I can’t march in the parade in my street clothes? No. We can still honor those fallen and those that served as bystanders in the ceremony. The bikers were allowed to lay a wreath, it is not like they were banned from the city. Lets all just be thankful and enjoy what little time we may have with the remaining veterans as opposed to bickering every remembrance day.

  6. Mr Hagarty. I find your comments completely discriminatory and totally offensive to not only the Motorcycling community but to your Department as a whole. Police Officer’s not wanting their photo’s taken by members of the public? Because that is who you are talking about. Hard working Men and Women who ride motorcycles and enjoy raising money for Charities.
    Have you ever been to the Heroes Highway Ride and Rally? Actually….silly question. Of course you haven’t. Because if you had, you would see the relationship that we have with the Military and all of the Police Departments that assist in putting the event on every year. Imagine Mr Hagarty, thousands of bikers, all all in leather and a lot wearing patches of all colors, mingling, chatting, taking pictures with the Military…and the POLICE. All there to show support for our Heroes Past and Present and their Families.
    I suggest if you or your officers do not want your photo’s taken by the public then start wearing disguises, drive around in unmarked cars and have a secret location for your Department. Oh….and don’t respond to any call’s just in case there is someone there with a camera.

    • Anne, they should just wear balaclavas all the time. The information recording age has arrived so they better get used to this picture thing.

  7. You, Mr. Hagarty are a LIAR. I will be forwarding this to my attorney as I am a professional news media photographer AND a biker, so your statement clearly marks me a criminal. Hope you have proof to back it up in court.

  8. It seems strange how the police that were not Veterans, are allowed to march, but Bikers who are Veterans are not allowed to march, just like Police are allowed to take pictures of the Bikers, but the bikers are not allowed to take pictures of the police???? The picture issue has been fully explained above, so, why is the chief not responding to all of this information. Does he have something to hide??? This is clearly about the chief’s dislike for Bikers. It is unfortunate, as 99% of bikers are REALLY GOOD people that are actively helping the community. Something that John Hagarty does not see or understand. Leaves me asking myself if this is the right person to have in this position???

  9. Everyone seems so concerned over the photographs being taken. I always take photos at a parade. I think the police may be too self-important, thinking the photos were taken of them specifically, rather than the event in general. I believe that a club or organization is showing their respect to the men and women who fought for us, by marching and showing others, that as a group, they support our Veterans. In the end, isn’t THAT the sort of freedom they fought for?

    • two issues that sem to get twisted or slanted , we dont realy know the truth, the comment “head shots were used” is it true, why would a club wih as much repect as yours need to do this acept to aserbate the situation ( making a situation worse with noledge does not make exsersing your rights right, espiecaily knowing this) were biker vetrans denigned the right to walk, or wakl with the club as they wished , this is not deniy them the right to march, it denies the right to non vetrans to march as is the patactise in many towns, and may have neded to be corrected even if allowed once, Sorry about the typos , I’m dislic. This could hav been handle with alot more repsect on both sides, do not think youare inocent too, as for me 3 generations of sevice, with years of dealing with sick cops when riding. Realy the “head shots” if rue froma chrity group bother me , its what clubs o the fringe do, I am realy interested in this , may atke a trip up and talk to peole for myself and then form an opin, get the facts helps , all I do know for sure is the old gy from the legion was stresed to the max and perhaps on this remberace day unnessarily. But your protet was efective to me , I’ll look into it for me and others down self , in the mean time kep up your good work in other ares

      • Shawn, I am sending the grammar police to your house. You will be arrested and will serve time for your assault of the English language. No parole buddy.

  10. http://www.mykawartha.com/opinion-story/4218955-our-opinion-debate-takes-dignity-out-of-remembrance-day/

    OUR OPINION: Debate takes dignity out of Remembrance Day

    Kawartha Lakes This Week
    ByLois Tuffin
    Remembrance Day is a tribute to the bravery and sacrifice made by those who went to war. They fought for our freedom and we are grateful for the difference each one made in the war efforts over the past several decades.

    Therefore, it is discouraging to see a debate erupt over what people wear and who is welcome at the annual Remembrance Day service in Lindsay.

    This began a year ago when Police Chief John Hagarty said he would not march in the parade if other members of a local motorcycle enthusiasts group were also taking part. He took issue with inappropriate attire, including insignia from bikers organizations.

    The Royal Canadian Legion has always determined who marches in the parade; veterans, para-military organizations, cadets and emergency services. It is not open to the general public.

    A year later, the same decision stands, but people are reacting without fully understanding why it is being enforced. It is a matter of respect, not of exclusion.

    After all, the service which takes place at the Cenotaph is open to everyone. Everyone is welcome to lay a wreath and the motorcycle group in question did exactly that.

    Frankly, people are overreacting,

    This includes Mayor Ric McGee, who has told us that the Chief’s stance is the final straw for his decision to resign from the Police Services Board. He doesn’t feel that Chief Hagarty should have created the controversy over the Remembrance Day parade in the first place. It’s not clear why he didn’t object when it all began last year.

    Clearly, Mayor McGee has other complaints with the board. This latest step is obviously a chance for him to distance himself from the board. Just a few weeks ago he filed a complaint with the Ontario Civilian Police Commission over budget procedures, even though he is part of the group, he missed some meetings and left other ones early. That complaint was dismissed.

    All this undignified in-fighting is not at all respectful of the veterans and the institution of Remembrance Day. A small group didn’t get to take part in a parade where a dress code is expected. Is that really what we want to focus on in our community?

    Ultimately, it comes down to the police Chief’s freedom to express his opinion. Yes, he is a public figure and his words can hold more sway, however, he is trying to protect the sanctity of a formal ceremony.

    As for his critics, more care should be given to the facts behind the story.

    After all, we would prefer to see leadership that celebrates the commitment of people like our veterans, rather than one that finds excuses to complain about others.

    • I see you are finally starting to respond. There are many questions in this thread alone that individuals are awaiting responses too. As for your post, here is my response.
      “The Royal Canadian Legion has always determined who marches in the parade”
      Note- The Legion made the decision to invite the Kawartha Charity Riders, The Kawartha Charity Riders did not request, they were INVITED.
      “It is not open to the general public”
      Note- Who said this? Where is it written? On the Legion website there is a PDF that states non-veteran groups participate in the parade and there is specific line up formations for these groups.
      “It is not clear why he didn’t object last year.”
      Note- Mayor McGee did object to John Hagarty giving an ultimatum. I personally talked to him on the phone when I had originally found out. You may need to reinvestigate your facts. Mayor McGee is only one person on a board of individuals responsible for the police services board. If the board allows personal opinions of one individual to dictate, then we need to look at getting a whole new board.
      “Just a few weeks ago he filed a complaint over budget procedures.”
      Note- This just backs up the fact that we need to overlook the Police Services Board as a whole. Procedures are put in place for a reason.
      “As for critics, more care should be given o the facts behind the story.”
      FACTS: -A few years ago KCR was invited to march in the Remembrance Day Parade and did so proudly.
      -All members wore black pants/tops with black vests (including me)
      -Hagarty told the Legion that he would not march in the parade if KCR is. KCR backed off in order not to put that decision on the Legion.
      -I personally sent several messages, phone calls and visits to which Hagarty would not discuss the event with me. I then made the “Dear Mr. Hagarty” Youtube video to get his attention. I did exactly that.
      -When Hagary finally agreed to meet with me, my concerns were directed to the reputation of the community as a whole. I suggested that a photo “opp” with him and KCR showing that we could come up with a solution to any kind of disagreement. He was not in agreement to this and stood by his comment regarding our “uniform…or lack of.” I continued to focus on the best interest of a community at whole, not him or the KCR.
      – Not at any time during this meeting did Hagarty tell me that he had issues with photos being taken, but it has become the issue arising this year. I am the one whom was taking photos of everyone, not just officers.
      – I am a Social Worker, not a criminal. My focus is what is best for everyone, not him/me/KCR. I do NOT have a criminal record or intent to take photos for criminal practices.
      -I advocate for the better good. I attempted to assist Hagarty with this to ensure nothing would be a negative impact on our community or each other. Nothing came of it and stereotyping is continued in a negative way towards the KCR.
      – Unfortunately, this will not be the end of it and will be dealt with in higher forms of action. Not because KCR wants to walk in a parade, or that KCR is looking for any kind of media. It is because there are too many things going on that are unacceptable and there is nothing being done to repair the situation. Serve and Protect. Not stereotype and give ultimatums in order to get your own way. Things need to be done right. This community needs an individual whom understands its people.
      -The Legion is placed in the middle and it is not right for them to have to choose or be placed in this situation. Please do not blame/ harass them for any reason.

      “…rather than find excuses to complain about others.”
      Note- I would really like to know what the excuse will be next year. Uniforms the first year, cameras the second, how about you get enough nerve up to sit and spend some time with me to find out EXACTLY what we do!! This means getting to know us, the members of the community you recently came into!! The individuals born and raised here. The people whom take care of those in need within our community, not as a job, but voluntarily!!!
      You know how to get a hold of me.
      Linda Brown

      • Very well said Linda. Kudos to you! Our communities need more citizens like you working to make them a better place

  11. I have an idea, how about a dress code for the parade? Everybody marching wears a green cape or something. Is a police uniform any less intimidating than a biker uniform? Kids need to learn how to play properly together. Do I need to have my mom come down there and kick some sense into you tards?

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