Readers contribute their thoughts on Remembrance Day 2022
Last week we invited PeaceQuest readers to share what they are remembering this year on November 11. We have compiled many of the very thoughtful and moving responses we received, below.
Thank you to everyone who contributed.
What are you remembering on November 11?
Responses submitted by readers:
The sacrifices made by others so that we can live in peace.
This November 11 I will continue to wear my white poppy as a symbol of my resistance to all war and violence. I will never again wear a red poppy as to me it now has come to symbolize the glorification of war and celebration of militarism. I will remember this day all the innocent victims of war women, children, refugees, those that fall victim to disease, hunger, homelessness, as well as soldiers on both sides brainwashed to kill young people like themselves. We must build a culture of peace and nonviolence from the earliest age in Canada to create a generation that will upend Canada’s foreign policy of racism, violence, interference, and militarism against the planet and the poorest peoples.
I can’t bring myself to honour any nation or institution on remembrance day. The fact is that wars have mainly victims and perpetrators and those can be found on both sides of these conflicts. I grieve for the suffering imposed while harbouring great anger at all those who welded power and failed to protect all the “little” people. These conflicts can not grow to the size they have due ti the actions of the little people. It is the greed and arrogance of the so called leaders, the powerful, that is to be lamented. These leaders have consistently failed to govern themselves and while the competitive model of the ages has generated many advances, so to it has given us cause to remember the victims… there are no heroes at the leadership level, the true heroes come only from the little people acting with a generous spirit in times where generosity is not the prevailing theme advanced by the 1%.
I am remembering the unwilling participants, those who did not volunteer to participate in the wars.
Remember? Hell, I’m still trying to forget. (A veteran)
November 11 is my Father’s Day because he served in the last war. He was a xray technician, in the front lines and a medic. He never marched in any Remembrance parades until his 80 birthday, 2019 Remembrance Day, he passed away in 2000. He never told any of his children, so we never saw him do it. Often when we were children if he would march and he said, not now not now. My father came home from war and within 5 years, he was diagnosed with paranoia schizophrenia at Crease Clinic in Vanouver, BC. He really had PTST, which I realized after reading Romeo Dallaire’s last book, “Waiting for the Light.” He was violent to my mom and crazy living we endured all through my childhood after the age of 5,which was so shocking and painful to see him be violent go to jail, have to hide in safe places, be poor, seeing my poor mother so abused, because when I was very young he was the best, when he was well, he told us the stories that made us all very patriotic citizens of Canada, he could translate the Bible stories of heroes and tell of his experiences of priests, soldiers, who were the Daniels. He also had a compelling agony and pain by seeing how his Canada was just another corporation that was not going to change after the world and he suffered such paranoia, of things that are happening in our Country & World right now. I am glad he has passed away in 2000 and my mother 1997 who served in Canada during the war that they are not alive to see what a pathetic country we have become, due to the corporate culture, the despicable political leaders and the lack of courage we have allowed our children to be. All of my grandchildren have this heritage I passed on and my children too and I tell the stories and I see they are becoming more like me than before due to what Canada is doing right now for war not peace! I always honour my parents’ legacy of freedom and promise and courage!”
I remember this date as a day which is so incredibly full of conflicts, that on a personal level, I simply wish to avoid it. I have chosen to wear no overt symbolism – no poppy – neither red or white. In the news, the day has become more than ‘remembering’ the suffering and the wars the veterans fought. It has become an annual review of certain battles which has the effect of glorifying them. Sure it is good to remember history so as not to repeat portions of it. Indeed the ‘white’ poppy was created with this concept in mind. No more wars. However, even discussion and definitely the wearing of a white poppy can bring up long conversations about the possibilities of offending some people. Perhaps, better to have an annual review of peace studies, conflict resolution and diplomacy. It might get us farther.
I am remembering all veterans, but mostly the soldiers in the Second World War, among whom was my uncle.
I’m remembering that the newly formed United Nations in the late 1940’s outlawed war as a tool of governments. I believe it may be part of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. The nation’s of the world as members of the UN, still need to live up to its Declaration. We all need to demand that the wealthy nations of the North or West, need to bring about an end to arms manufacturing and end their arms making industrial strategies. Arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin in the U.S. and many more, need to be converted to peaceful manufacturing or go out of business altogether.
I wasn’t born yet on Nov.11th, 1918. So, I remember nothing from that day. But I have done some research and I shall remind myself this No.11th that in WW I, millions of innocent, and misguided young men died on both sides because Britain was determined to destroy Germany because she feared the new nation (come into existence in 1871) might challenge England’s right “”to rule the waves””. It was all about empire and colonialism. Read some of warmonger Winston Churchill’s speeches if you’re still stuck with the propaganda version according to which Germany started and wanted the war. There is not a single fact to support that claim .Today we are experiencing a similar global deception about the war in Ukraine which is the fruit of US labours which intends to do away with Russia. Watch out: China is next! This time the root cause is the American empire and its colonialism. This is just one of an infinite number of wars that demonstrate that it is time to send all soldiers home, strip them of their uniforms and stop engaging in war for any reason anywhere anytime. Otherwise the next world war will end the story of Homo stupidus.
I remember my father, who survived the first war to serve in the second one, and his brother who disappeared soon after Vimy and has never been found. But, more than that I remember that I never want such barbarous behavior to happen again and to remind Canadians that they must never be party such insanity again.
Québec remembers how we can celebrate peace, not war souvenirs.
I’m remembering my father, Arthur Gillatt, a poor country boy from Derbyshire, UK who, at the age of 17 was on the Somme in France in July 1916 as a member of the British Army. He knew horses and looked after them for the cavalry units! 19,240 British soldiers were killed on the 1st day of the battle. Remembrance Day was a big thing for him. He’d sit in the corner and drink and cry and cry and cry………..”