Commemorate – Don’t Celebrate

November 10, 2013 at 8:15 am (Life) (, , , , , , , , , , )

This day, I am always so conflicted about this day.

My younger half-sisters are not so conflicted – they think nothing of changing their Facebook pictures to poppies.

I’ll buy a poppy. I’ll wear a red poppy though I’d prefer to wear a white poppy.

St Front Graveyard

My father was a soldier. His father was not (too young for the first world war, too old for the second). My father’s father was a farmer – a steady man. My father wanted adventure. My father joined the army as soon as he was able but he never fought in an active war zone. He was in Germany, in the 1960s, as part of a peace-keeping effort.

I cringe every time the news announcers says celebrate the day (they should say commemorate). Remembrance Day is not a day of celebration.

The poem, In Flanders Field, should not be set to music and sung.

WW1 Grave - Edmonton

Conflicted. Conflict. If I remain lucky, I will never experience a war on my own soil, in my own country. This is a privilege and I know this.

I Google “last war on Canadian soil” and I get this. The last battle occurred not far from where I grew up but I’ve didn’t learn about this war in school. Even now the question remains was this a rebellion or a resistance? The victors control the language.

I hope that we, as a species, can find a better way to solve conflicts.

I fight for the courage to keep speaking up.

I have faith that we, as a species, are better than this.

The English writer Vera Brittain wrote that at a certain point the living have to break faith with the dead.

That we must question and decide and commemorate as we see fit.

This is how I remember:

by talking about White Poppies,

by discussing my views about the Vimy Memorial,

This is What Freedom Looks Like, to me,

On the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month.


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