Nov 11, 2010

What are we remembering?

Today, Remembrance Day, I will hold in my heart not just Canadian soldiers, but all soldiers who senselessly lose their lives. Russian, Taliban, Congolese, German soldiers are equally worthy of my tears, my poppies, my heartfelt sadness at their loss.

They all fought for their countries. They all were told the same lie that young Canadians were told - that war would bring freedom and Peace.

This is my annual day of discomfort at our society's glorification of war. On this Remembrance Day we always get it wrong. Just a glance through the local paper makes that clear:
"Let's remember and pay tribute to the sacrifices made by veterans and their fallen comrades in their efforts to build a more peaceful world." - Doug Routley, MLA
"We have freedom because of what veterans have done." - Wes Everitt, sergeant at Arms

War doesn't bring Peace. It can't. These soldiers were indeed brave to sacrifice their lives in service to their country, but it was a misguided service. I salute their bravery, and lament the societal influences that deceived them into thinking that war is the answer.

Today let's remember the terrible loss to society that war always causes. Let's feel saddened by the death of so many young women and men in the service, and the many many more innocent victims of war, mostly women and children.

But let's not fall into the trap of using that collective global sadness to garner more support for the troops, to add further fuel to the fire and continue the circle of killing. This is not a national recruitment day. Let's take that sadness deep inside our collective soul and let it feed a strong light of Peace, a collective determination to remove all causes of war.

1 comment:

  1. This is something I wrestle with every year--so much freighted on a plastic pink (better alliteration) poppy! But I feel 'not in my skin' when I wear one. Complicit, somehow. And 'my own skin' I don't think is yeller or disrespectful. We've had a discussion on Facebook, some friends and I lately, on the white poppy. Most are pretty adamant that it's disrespectful; I think that has to change. But then I read a local column (Whitehorse, Yukon) about a local 40-year-old Bosnia/Afghanistan vet who--and this is really awful--was tasked to shovel off babies' bodies that a missile through a roof had impacted in walls where women with children had sought shelter. Into garbage bags. How would a white poppy make him feel, when he has been disallowed (in Bosnia) from protecting the children he heard being tortured? Kind of brought home what these guys and gals go through--and are not being treated for by a recalcitrant government that oddly is the most pro-war we've had.

    I think I'll compromise by wearing a red one in my tweed cap ("Let's think about this while remembering?").

    --Murray Munn, whitehorse, yukon