Lest We Forget
Today is Remembrance Day in Canada.
I mentioned in a recent post
some of the history of my family as related to World War II, and because of this my experiences with Remembrance Day during my childhood were often strange and confusing. I remember beginning a poem in grade six that I titled, "I Don't Know Who to Hate," in which I tried to work out who it was that I was supposed to be angry with. Who was it whose memory I was supposed to be cherishing? Who should I be thanking? Whose deeds should I remember?
I couldn't finish the poem. I remember staring at the unfinished lines so conflicted, so hurt and confused, because I didn't want to hate anyone. I didn't want to choose sides. And I didn't know what to do.
I threw the poem away.
And I think that that was the moment when I truly realized what Remembrance Day was, or should be, or had to be for me. That I was not only remembering the soldiers of a particular nation or war, or those who never returned home, but everyone. Those who fought, and those who couldn't; those who had their lives rent in two by war, any war; those who suffered and lost; those who fought for freedom, or fought for their families, or who did what they thought was right, who suffered and were wounded and lost friends and family and died instead of living the type of life that I take for granted. On this day, I am remembering war and what it does to people -- all wars, all people. I am remembering the peacekeepers, and what they do to keep us safe. I am remembering the past and I am hoping for the future.
I will wear a poppy and say thank you to people I do not know, cannot know.
Lest we forget.