Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2 Minutes Of Silence

I was recently discussing Remembrance Day with a friend & talking about how I was researching the military service records of my family members. I was surprised when she said she had no-one in her family who had ever served.

I grew up knowing about my family’s service in WWI & WWII. We made a point of attending Remembrance Day services every year. It became an important part of who I am. My father is a member of the Legion, & has been for many years.

My paternal grandfather served during WWI & was wounded on Vimy Ridge. My maternal grandfather & my father-in-law both served during WWII. My nephew's military service includes UN & NATO peace-keeping missions to Bosnia & Croatia in the ‘90s, & a current deployment to Afghanistan. Honouring those who served their country in a way that most of us would be reluctant to is not an abstract concept for me. I see their faces {faces that mean something to me} on this day & I feel personally engaged.

Sometimes on TV, or in movies, war is made to look like a game, maybe even like something that is exciting or glamorous. But that is not what war is really like. And that’s why we have this day, & why it is so important — to remember the people that died and all the hardship and sadness that war causes, so that we will not be tempted to settle our differences by going to war, so that we will be encouraged to talk through our problems first & resort to conflict last.

The awful part of war is that no one is left unchanged. I’m sure most of you know of or remember a friend, loved one, or family member who has served in one of the World Wars, or in one of the other conflicts our country has become involved in. When we wear the poppies or place a wreath, we are remembering those who went to war, not for personal glory, but to stop the terrible things that were happening to innocent people.

Remembrance Day is an honourable occasion for all of us. It is not {as some people claim} a glorification of war, but a reminder of the cost of war. It is not a day of patriotic enthusiasm, but a time of solemn recollection.

Today we remember the tragedy of war. We remember those who have died and those who have suffered. We remember the sorrow. But along with the sorrow & the tragedy, there are other things to remember, more positive things. We remember the rebuilding that comes after war. We remember the hope that comes in that rebuilding. We remember the peace that follows. Let us never forget the tragedy & sorrow, but let us also remember the hope, rebuilding, and peace.

Here I am talking about Peace, on Remembrance Day. Those who fought in the Canadian Armed Forces in the first and second world wars hoped that their efforts would end all wars. It is good to remember this as we honour them, and to accept the responsibility of working in our own ways in this generation, right here and now, to build peace and end war.

Probably some of them signed up for the adventure, but beneath that, there must have been a commitment to service, and a hope that their efforts would make Canada and the world a better place. They must have hoped that their descendants could live in a world without war - that their children would never need to go through what they had experienced.

Today, as we remember their service, and that of so many others, we also ponder our own place in caring for the world and building towards peace. We seek to live our commitment for peace, and to be truly united in that commitment.

It is my hope that, on this day, everyone remembers to honour the sacrifice of all those who gave their lives in service to their country and humanity. Whether you had family who served or not; whether you agree or disagree with the decisions of the politicians regarding any particular conflict; whether you agree with the reasons behind the war or not; it behoves us to honour the people who ultimately pay the price, both the soldiers, and the civilian victims of war.

As we pause this Remembrance Day, we are thankful for the women and men who gave of themselves in times of war to help ensure the blessings that we enjoy today. The names, the faces, the stories come to us, once again, and we honour them, their courage, their sacrifice, their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way for a better cause. May we never forget.


Anonymous said...

Three Martini's for you. I commend you on your post.
I unlike many people have a personal remebrance on remembrance day. My father served in WWII and very seldom did he talk about it. We are of German descent and during those times were under ridicule. My father snd oldest of a family of 9 choose to enlist in the army to go and fight the germans. He did this because his heritage was now ridiculed. He was not a nazi nor were any of my anscetors, but the non-german descent people did not see it that way. I am proud of my father he helped a planet to extinguish evil. He was not killed he was given medals , and never ever encouraged his children to enlist. He saw to much. My brother in law was draft dodger say no more. My step grandfather(my grandmother remarried after my grandfathers death)fought for germany in WW1, you can't imagine the guilt that man carried as he lived and breathed in freedom.

In Rembrance

Queen of Halloween said...

Wonderful memorial...thank you!