On Remembrance Day, we try to remember, but sometimes there are indications that we don’t.
Because if we truly do honour the sacrifices of our soldiers and if we really can recall the horrors of war, why don’t we choose peace more often? If we don’t choose peace, what are we choosing?
Every year, in the lead-up to Remembrance Day, it’s interesting to hear old war stories, told or re-told. (We published several pages of them in Tuesday’s print issue of the News Bulletin; they can be accessed online at this link.) Some of the stories are sad, some aren’t, but all should be instructive.
Remembrance Day is comprised of meaning, symbolism and ceremony. It is a solemn occasion, especially the moment of silence at 11 o’clock when we reflect on those who served and were lost. In death, they are forever linked with that for which they fought, so the right way to honour them, we think, is to give them that moment of silence, to be sure, but to then break that silence and speak up for peace – the cause they didn’t get to see.
We still live in a world where there is quarrel with the foe, but if we continue to solve our quarrels the way we once did then there must surely be some disconnect between our remembrances and our reasoning. We cannot help but feel discouraged by the leaders and followers worldwide who choose to concentrate on our differences and reinforce divisions. Peacemaking versus warmongering can be a choice, more often than not, in these times. We have that choice, and so many rights and freedoms, partly because of our veterans, the ones who fought and died and the ones who survived to bear witness and live their lives in a world that was worth fighting for then and is worth saving now.
On Remembrance Day, we cannot allow the memories to grow hazy – world peace is simply too important to let that happen.