What are you remembering on November 11, this year?
This is an important Remembrance Day for 2020. It is the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Japan, and it is the 75 anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. Lots to think about.
- What are you remembering on this Remembrance Day?
- Are Remembrance Day ceremonies still relevant in 2020?
- What does it mean to you?
- If you could change Remembrance Day, how would you change it?
- Is Remembrance Day too much about war, and not enough about peace?
Write a comment at the bottom of this post.
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Tags: Remembrance Day
36 replies added
On the CBC there is a sudden flowering of red poppies every November. I read that in the UK the BBC allowed people appearing on the TV to wear poppies of their choice of colour (i.e. OK to wear white poppies!) I would like to see more white poppies in Canada – on TV and elsewhere.
Last year was the 100th anniversary of that time we invaded Russia (and our troops mutinied), but it was not mentioned in CBC’s hours of blather.
Thanks for writing a comment in this section.
Yes, remembrance day is too much about war and building weapons of mass destruction. If we spent more time on making genuine peace the world would be a lot better off.
Remembrance Day is definitely too much about war. It should be a time to talk about the waste of lives most often of the poor, who end up in the military as their hope for shelter, and training.
I’ve been on your email list for a minute now and thought to leave a comment on this interesting question. I think it’s a very personal and subjective thing for people, kind of depending on their own experiences of the horrors of war, kind of like of much turmoil has one personally endured. For myself, I think there its too much emphasize on the hypeness of war during Rememberance Day, If that makes any sense.
From Surrey, BC,
So happy to hear your words! I dipped my red poppy in white paint last year. When the last WW11 vet passes away I think we should forego this symbol of war. Every war after the 2nd WW was a mistake and I have no sympathy for Canadians who served in the Korean or Vietnam war!
I’ve been wearing a tattered white poppy for years. I’m a pacifist and don’t care for glorifying war. That said, the older I get (in my 8th decade) the more I want to thank the generation that came before me for preserving the free world. But I’m conflicted about more recent wars, which were about resource seizures and too many American-initiated conflicts.
Nov.11 is a history lesson for younger citizens. Some of us are still around who recall growing up during WW11, Dad in Service (voluntarily) in my case. My husband as a child directly in the middle of the turmoil, hungry and unable to attend school fulltime because the Nazis trained their young military at that Dutch school. One MUST study and learn the How and Why of war (any war) in order to learn what NOT to do in future – and still stand up for what you believe. My Dad was a volunteer – he heard Hitler on shortwave radio, and realized that trouble was coming. The reasons for the Nazi uprising were born after WW1. Those who do not learn history are condemned to repeat it. War has NEVER solved anything. BUT defending one’s home and beliefs IF a war is a threat is the RIGHT thing to do. We need to clearly define the BIG differences. No war is “just” but sometimes it becomes inevitable. We must then always find the way to a JUST peace – for all concerned. MY way is Right is usually Wrong.
Yes it is . THINK
Remembrance Day should be all about peace. War is a disaster for everyone it touches. The best way to remember victims and veterans of war is to have no more wars!
I think it’s most impactful and also critical to have a balance of the horrors of war and why we have to remember. In order do that, some focus has to be on war itself, while also relaying a message of peace.
Remembrance Day should not be about glorifying war; it should be about glorifying peace. But the veterans, and those who fought & died alongside them, certainly deserve to be honoured.
I would like to see more emphasis on the importance of ending war and creating peace.
Remembrance Day is a call to “remember”. In Spanish, the word is “recordar” = to pass through the heart again. In English, to re – member = to put the pieces back together to create a whole. Remembering is not passive; it is active. To remember is to take action to build peace. It is a day to commit to being peace builders and to decide on at least one concrete action each of us will take. This afternoon, I am meeting with a circle of friends and we will ask ourselves how we can be peacemakers.
First off, I wonder who will bother straining their eyes to read this washed-out font.
Next, I remember that WW II ended with atomic bombs, which convinced my mother that her boomer babies would have to be the first generation to avoid war. We have not done that; we have just managed them “better.” We did avoid an atomic WW III, but now, nukes are just one of several huge problems in the laps of the kids.
Third, I remember that even though there is still some feeling that the WW II vets were fighting bad people, there was no prosecution of Hitler’s financiers, including Henry Ford. Overall, that war looks like an attack on communism by capitalism. It even looks like Germany developed the ICBM, while the Allies developed the warhead for it.
However, the momentum and expectations for fighting evil did lead to the civil rights movement.
I am remembering my father who was part of Operation Husky and had the privilege of touring Sicily when he was 90 to honour his comrades at many rallies. I honour his courage, loyalty and sense of devotion to a Cause. And, on this I also remember how the war came home with him in ways he did not understand. Nor did we who suffered from the PTSD he carried. On this day, let us honour those who served and let us not glorify war anymore. It is a terrible necessity sometimes and too often an arrogant and hostile choice.
I will ponder your questions throughout the day. However I’ll comment now – my fist response to your questions are more questions. These questions refer to any war throughout history.
What was the actual conflict? Was the conflict resolved as a result of war? Was the cost of so much destruction and damage worth it? What was the propoganda that was fed to the people to aquire support (from all sides of the conflict) what information was fed to the people (to the masses) to gain support? In World War what is the impact on human society throughout the world for years to follow? How long does it take to really recover from the impact and results of war – how many generations are impacted and affected and in what ways – because of conditioning as a result of the direct and indirect impact of war?
While sadness is appropriate, and fighting fascism a noble cause, we do ourselves a disservice by choosing not to recognize how our ‘centrist’ politics nurtures a massive weapons industry. We delude ourselves by thinking Canada’s foreign policy is peaceful and pro-democracy. This politics/industry serves war and authoritarian regimes to enact coercion and aggression.
While our politics embraces ever more authoritarian and even fascist trends by unifying corporations and government while undermining actual democracy, it is wise to reflect whether commemoration is feeding a normalized, dangerous social pathology or a wiser, more compassionate population.
I am remembering the family members I never knew.
My grandfather killed at the Battle of Loos, France, September 1915.
His brother who died in Mesopotamia
( present day Iraq),
and my uncle Aubrey, 19, who was killed near Valenciennes, France in September 1918.
Also I am remembering the victims ( ongoing victims still drowning in the Mediterranean while fleeing Libya) of Operation Mobile , the Canadian led NATO mission that destroyed Libya and plunged it into the present civil war with NATO members now, incomprehensibly, supporting opposing factions.
I am remembering and honouring , with gratitude, those members of the Canadian Military who went into longterm care homes in Canada to care for abandoned Canadian seniors afflicted with Covid 19.
I have never understood, since I was a very little girl, why people would kill one another. I still don’t. It’s beyond my comprehension.
While this Remembrance Day I remember all the victims of wars past I refuse to wear the poppy as I find myself disheartened by the continued glorification of war during ceremonies marking this day. Images of fighter jets and modern armed forces that perpetuate the false notion that somehow war and military (service) is somehow heroic. When will we acknowledge the waste of war and military spending that continues to kill the earth and to profit from the sale of military hardware around the globe to regimes like Saudi Arabia that currently murders the people of Yemen! And on and on it goes!
We need to remember that war is hell. Today, it is mainly civilians, particularly women (rape) and children that suffer the most. Wars, that we in the west fund, create refugees that we then bring into Canada. It is crazy. We are spending money on offensive stealth bombs (F35) that will be directed by Americans as our bombers of Libya were. The nuclear countries are wasting modernizing nuclear weapons that should never be used, are immoral and will now be illegal with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (22 Jan. 2021). This money could be better spent on creating peace, health and education, sustainable renewable power, etc.
As an Air Force veteran, I have experienced how people can get excited over war and be prepared to leave home and family to fight. I have also experienced relationships with those who have returned and who do not want to speak of the hell they went through and the loss of friends. Sometimes, war is necessary, but it should always be entered into and fought through tears and not eagernesss. My two grandfathers fought in WWI and never spoke of the pain they both saw and endured. I lost an uncle in France during WWII. I came within one day of having my enlistment extended so I could go to Viet Nam (I was with the USAF) but chose to be discharged and leave the service so I have never known personally the plight of those who must turn off their lives for a while in order to fight and, hopefully, to survive. War is at times a necessity, but it ought never to be glorified. I remember my uncle who died and the others who fought and returned with thanks for their willingness to do what they considered was necessary, but I can never glorify war itself. Perhaps, one day, persons of every nationality and country will be able to see each other as brothers and sisters and find ways in which to settle differences which will bring a shared valuing of one another as citizens of the same world. We have a long way to go, however, and it will take understanding and truly loving ourselves, with all out good points and bad points, before we will be able to truly love others in the same say. And so, I say a genuine “thank you” to those who served and, at the same time, challenge all of us to do what we need to do to value one another so that war will no longer be the only choice we seem to have.
Remembrance Day was the worst day of the year for my mother whose husband,my father was lost at sea forma submarine attack on Dec 19th
Remembrance Day should become Reconciliation Day
My mother taught me that my father fought because he had to ,not because he wanted to kill people and that German men did the same. She encouraged me to go on an Rotary young peoples’ exchange to Germany and sent Christmas calendars to the mother in the Germany family for many years. She understood, forgave and reconciled. We must all learn to do the same.
Far too many wasted words on how Canada came to age in wartime, especially World War I, perhaps the most insane conflict ever on this globe. Young people died for nothing. And yet, they deserve to be honoured.
Remembering those who “served and sacrificed” tends to glorify the military.
We should rather be remembering the horror of war and the terrible loss of lives of loved ones and urging our leaders to reject anything to do with war (like making and selling arms).
When we quote from Flanders Fields we should emphasize the part that begins “We are the dead…”.
For me, on this difficult day, while I continue my commitment to work for peace, on November 11 I wear a red poppy alongside my white peace poppy and prepare to answer questions from casual observers. I also listen over breakfast to “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” (Simon and Garfunkel version is on YouTube)) to support our commitment to “put an end to war”. And remember how inspiring it was when Veterans For Peace joined as a member group of the Canadian Peace Alliance.
I agree with many of the post that call for peace and not war. We need to focus on relief and help for the millions of victims of war, which mostly women and children.
In honor of all fallen veterans, along with those that survived the horrors of those so-called great wars of aggression. Honor us by promoting the White Poppy. The White Poppy signifies the promotion of PEACE. A notion that is sadly missing during such tumultuous times as what the world presently experiences. PEACE.
I remember all the children this Rembrance and every day first and foremost who have been slaughtered and maimed in all wars. They had no say and their futures were stolen by those who hunger for power and financial gain. Weapons manufacturers, along with those who perpetuate and start wars should be prosecuted for war crimes at the ICC. They could do that at Nuremburg and it should be done today.
There is not much more to say here, as so many have already let their hearts speak. At past Remembrance Day performances with my church choir, I have dodged rather bitter glances and comments while wearing a white peace poppy. I’m glad it is becoming more popular, as people realize war’s futility.
Thank you, Steve, and everyone at PeaceQuest for this opportunity.
I remember my large extended family and the many people and places where we have all served. I also remember the timeless words of Wilfred Owen.
Dulce et Decorum Est
BY WILFRED OWEN
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
As a youngster in the Netherlands all through the fifties and sixties I was raised by people who suffered through five years of Nazi occupation and experienced firsthand the horrors of WW II. There are still yearly commemorations where the Dutch express their gratitude towards their Canadian liberators. The goal for the Canadian military was to defeat the enemy, liberate the country and end the war. Many paid the ultimate price. This should neither be forgotten nor should a situation ever be created where it could happen again. Both world wars turned the poppy into a pledge of peace.
Unfortunately nowadays Canadian and other (European) forces are often called up to fight and die in American led, “humanitarian interventions” where America’s mafia, i.e. NATO leaves nothing but destruction in its wake. These killing operations are to bring resources under US control as well as a way of testing new weaponry, largely on non-white civilians. Too many attempts have been made of late to make it appear these crimes against humanity share a common denominator with the tragedy of WW I and the defeat of fascism in WW II. The poppy should never be a pledge to sanitize war.
When I read “In Flanders Fields” the line “if ye break faith with us who die” means that we who come after and enjoy life and freedom owe a debt to those who sacrificed. The best way is pay that debt is to make sure that wars don’t happen again. Easier said than done but it wasn’t easy for those who fought, either.
Remembrance day is important for education. Kids need to understand what happened in these wars, how they started and, hopefully, how to prevent the next one.
On remembrance day, I remember the lives lost in cruel senseless ways, how little we have learned from these losses, and families have suffered. I participate in the ceremonies out of respect for the survivors and the families of those who died. I pray we learn a lesson peace from all such tragic wars.
Remembrance Day leaves me distressed! I wonder why so much emphasis on heroes in war seems so overwhelming. I feel heroes of peace would be more important to celebrate- those who work tirelessly without weapons of war to bring peace, I would like to hear veterans speak of non-violence and its meaning for them. So many live with the casualties of war. I understand they gave their lives but what is the peaceful alternative?
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