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Sunday, November 10, 2013


My maternal grandfather 'Mac' in 1917. Survived.
I posted the following thoughts on my personal Facebook wall yesterday, and had a lot of comments. A number of people asked to share it, so I thought I'd share it here on my blog...

My paternal grandfather Fred. Survived, but wounded at Vimy Ridge.

I find it sad that some people choose to view wearing a poppy as somehow 'pro-war'. I think it's quite the opposite, isn't it? I wear mine to commemorate sacrifice, to reflect on the evil waste and futility of war-- ALL war, not just the 'big two'. I have never been a fan of violence and mass bloodshed. I abhor the dictators past and present who force humanity to its knees and murder them in their millions, and press soldiers into doing their dirty work. I despair that those on the side of good are forced to kill. Whatever reasons a soldier has to take up arms-- whether by choice, duty or bullying-- they are part of this horrid cycle that never seems to break.

Uncle Bill in WWII- sole survivor of a Lancaster crash.

Remembrance matters to me. A lot. We are not honouring the act of war: we are honouring the memory of countless lost people. I empathize with those who are disgusted by the cynical politicians who make a holy show of it all, and use it as an opportunity to divide us further and whip up jingoism for future use against The Enemy (whoever they happen to be this time). I hate the way every country's politicians seem to use the 'good optics' and pretend they care about soldiers one day a year... all while they turn their backs on vets and their families who need support precisely *because* of the sacrifices they make for the sake of their countries. I share their righteous disgust, but I will not turn it into a shunning of Remembrance.

My great uncle. Killed in action, 1915.

'Remember'. Interpret that how you will: only remember. For two minutes.

We must keep our hearts in it-- our wounded, broken hearts-- for the sake of humanity. If we can recall the waste and apply the lessons (that's the tricky part-- we never seem to learn, do we?) then we are better for it as a whole.

A tall order, I know. But I will never miss the date of Remembrance so long as I can stand and bow my head. For two minutes. For the sake of humanity and all of its bloody sacrifice.


  1. I have fought in the War on Terror and I will not glorify war but I will agree that we need to remember. I love this post. It doesn't matter why the soldier fights, it doesn't matter what his enemy was or is now, but what does matter is that we remember the sacrifices that were asked of them. No one knows what we have seen or what we have done. It isn't the movies, it isn't the video games, it isn't the one day a year as you say that the politician's love to use to show that they just love their men and women in uniform. It is all show. Thank you for this post.

  2. Thank you, TJ. It means a lot coming from you, especially when you have seen and been through situations most of us cannot begin to understand.