What does Remembrance Day mean to you? For me it’s a time of reflection, of struggling to understand the world’s history of war and conflict, of grappling to reconcile the loss of life going on every day with the peaceful, free world I step into every morning.
How do you remember? How do we remember and honour a life changing event that started 97 years ago; a time when most of us weren’t even alive?
I’ll be honest. I wrestle with the idea of war. I’m the stereotypical “Pollyanna”. If “why can’t we all just get along” was a motto it would be airbrushed in bold Arial font on my forehead! I hate conflict. I don’t understand war. And I hate the thought of people dying in the cold dark night, alone in knee deep mud with the sounds of heavy artillery booming next to them while bombs fall like rain from the sky!
On the other hand I’m deeply grateful to live in Canada.
Canada - a country where our children can play in the streets free from the threat of suicide bombers.
Canada - a country that is ruled by democracy and freedom of speech.
Canada - a country that doesn’t live under the regime of threats, terror and tyranny.
Canada – a country with religious and cultural freedom.
Would this Canada be possible today without the battles that took place in World War I and World War II and the ongoing battles in the Middle East? Can those of us who enjoy our freedom simply sit back and declare the loss of life justifiable? Or do we live with an inner tension, the dissonance of knowledge; the knowledge that our country is free today because other people gave their lives for that freedom?
Recently I’ve been listening to a summary of the life of Sir Winston Churchill. Here was a man who lived to see both World Wars and played a very active leadership role in each. Churchill understood the danger of apathy. His set of moral values simply would not allow him to stand back and watch while citizens in other countries lived under the grips of tyranny. He understood tyranny is about power and needs to be stopped. For this understanding he was quite frequently labeled a “war monger” – someone who loved war, but in fact Churchill seemed to viscerally grasp the fact that if tyranny isn’t stopped all of humanity suffers.
So we live in freedom and war rages on; struggles and conflicts within ourselves and battles in countries an ocean away. Freedom is not to be taken lightly. It comes at a high price – the lives of our brave men and women, the peace of mind of their families, the minds of the soldiers who return doomed to wrestle with nightmares and post traumatic stress for the rest of their lives.
These men and women believe freedom is worth the price. Let’s not take their sacrifices for granted.
Lest We Forget
Visit Terry Kelly’s Youtube link, “A Pittance of Time” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kX_3y3u5Uo