They say that as intelligent, mature human beings it’s possible to hold conflicting ideas at the same time. This is why we can argue with ourselves, weighing the merits of many sides of an issue. Though it is possible, I’d say it’s anything but easy. Remembrance Day is one of those times and concepts for me. Remembrance Day can and perhaps must be a day of contradictions. It is easy to shy away, but embrace these many diverse thoughts, I must.
It’s a day, first and foremost, for remembering. On Saturday, I will think of those who have died in service to their country – an act of courage and social responsibility that from my privileged perspective, is a selfless act beyond my full understanding. I will remember those who have, willingly or unwillingly, put their lives at risk to defend ideals like democracy, free elections, human decency and an end to atrocities that are beset on our fellow humans by tyrannical leaders or corrupt systems.
I will remember those who have been forever changed and harmed by their willingness to serve in places of violence, war and deep human need.
I will remember the victims in places of strife and conflict: not just the children and adults who have lost lives, property, ancestral land, homes, work and family, but the devastation of the land, of the Earth, of the animal life and environment that is spoiled and harmed in the machine that is war and conflict.
I will remember the ones who stand up to defend the helpless, the innocent, the powerless.
I will remember the sacredness of all, and that the world is a web of interconnected ecosystems. Harm for one is harm for all. I will remember that for every death, injury, and life harmed and altered, there are families and friends, whole networks of grief and pain. This web connects beyond nationality, familial ties, faith tradition or any other human-created delineation.
I will remember my commitment to work for peace and justice – locally and globally – through my actions politically, socially, economically and personally. I will remember that the work of peace is work that will protect the lives of future generations.
I will maintain that my remembering does not diminish my conviction to reject war and violence as a tool for social change.
I will remember to honour and strive for just peace as the more difficult and better way.