It’s been nearly a century since the first Remembrance Day was celebrated, back in 1919, to honour those lost in the First World War, the “war to end all wars.”
Of course, it wasn’t an end to war. It’s doubtful that a single day has passed without armed conflict somewhere on this planet. A depressing thought, but it doesn’t mean we should ever stop trying or hoping.
As we honour our veterans and fallen soldiers today, remember that this day isn’t about celebrating the violence of war, but the principles that so many gave their lives to defend: peace above all, but also the ability to live our lives in free and open societies.
We are a long way still from creating a truly just society, but again, slow progress or setbacks don’t mean we should stop trying.
The great wars were wars against tyranny, recognizing that allowing totalitarian regimes to spread abroad and not going to the aid of our fellows wouldn’t mean that we were safe, only that we were the next targets.
Remembrance Day gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to all those men and women, past and present, living and dead, who have given of themselves to not only protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy, but also to shield many of the world’s peoples from those who would take their freedom.
We gather in the dark and cold of on coming winter, to pause, reflect and honour. Unlike other holidays throughout the year, this isnʼt a celebration; itʼs a reminder that sometimes sacrifices have to be made to defend the freedoms Canadians hold dear, or to correct injustices. Honour the fallen today, but also find some time to think about what they fought for, and answer the question of what kind of world you would like to see your children grow up in.
Violence, tyranny, hatred, fear of those different from us, misogyny, these are all attitudes we can do without.