On Remembrance Day, do we really remember?
Every year on Nov. 11 we try to remember the innumerable reasons for which we honour our veterans. We thank them for their sacrifices. We ask them to regale us with tales of courage and we applaud them for their bravery. We wear a poppy or lay a wreath. We try to recall why our country went to war, and why we must be determined never to go back.
But most of us don’t remember, can’t remember, because we didn’t experience it, not really. Most of us are fortunate enough not to have lived through war, let alone war at its worst. We don’t have those memories that we wish we didn’t.
Some of our soldiers come back from conflict safe. But too many of them don’t come back safe and sound. We know that post-traumatic stress disorder haunts our military men and women in great numbers, and we can surmise that it happened after the First and Second World War, too, though we failed to recognize it as often then. Soldiers gave us, and continue to give us, more than their service. We know now that the sacrifices they make last their whole lives.
The News Bulletin, in our last issue, published a special Remembrance Day section with an array of war stories. Some ended in death and loss, but not all were sad stories, because these stories are also about heroes and valour, and often, hope. We will try to remember the fallen and try to remember war and what it meant, and what it means, and its good and ill.
Our soldiers bear the memories that we don’t have to have. They possess one kind of strength and we must possess another: the conviction to live in a world without war.
It’s important to remember. But it’s imperative that we work toward a world in which war is just a memory.