War has a rich and varied history within the realm of human existence. It has existed for millennia, touching every generation and will probably continue for a few more. While I may not live in a country torn apart by war I am saddened by the fact I will never truly see peace in my lifetime.
I am pro-Remembrance Day and anti-war.
It strikes me as odd that there is an entire group of people who do not go to Remembrance Day ceremonies or wear poppies and not because they have to work but because they feel remembrance is a glorification of war. It seems even more odd that these people are not so much anti-war as they are pro-apathy. And it’s this apathy that I find dangerous.
When a young service member dies in Afghanistan they have their names read out on the news with minor details of their death. I cannot count the number of times someone has changed the channel from this, or complained aloud that they’re tired of hearing about the war.
Being a veteran doesn’t seem to carry the same weight with our generation as it did with previous ones. Interest in our veterans and troops has become passé and as people my age are fighting overseas, I feel like it remains largely ignored by my coevals. But our apathy does not come from an ill-intentioned place; it comes from a lack of understanding and a disconnection with the reality of war. This is why I feel we need Remembrance Day now more than ever.
We are lucky that we can view war from a distance. The last battle fought on Canadian soil was the Northwest Rebellion. Unlike many people, Canadians don’t have to worry about stepping off the road onto a land mine. I’ve never given one thought to what would happen if I lived in a place cut off from supplies due to war. I do not worry about war in general. We do not have a draft in Canada, I will never see a battle and this is true for most Canadians, yet people are starved, maimed and families are destroyed all over the world.
I do not support war for the sake of war. But every once in a while our fundamental rights come under attack and when this happens our soldiers step in to defend us. Canada is a country that knows what it stands for. We believe in peace and freedom for all. If that means putting ourselves out there in order to defend it, we will. As a country we have shown our passion for this cause with our heavy involvement in peacekeeping missions. Without the defence of peace and freedom, we will never reach it.
Support for Remembrance Day is not a support for war. It is a reminder that while we may reap whatever benefits war has given us, there is always a net loss. The atrocities committed should never be forgotten. We should never forget that we lose a piece of our humanity with every battle fought. Remembrance Day is not about supporting war, it is simply one day a year we’re asked to reflect on what war means.
Graphic: Jordan Campbell