Lest We Forget

A tapestry with poppies all over it that says "lest we forget" in the middle.
David Clode

As a pacifist, I have often had a complicated relationship with Remembrance Day.

I certainly respect the people who gave and risked and lost their lives to stand for what they believed in--even if I disagree with the premise of what was happening (war), that's an honourable thing to do. I also realize that there are things worse than violence and that sometimes, fighting may be necessary to prevent a greater evil.

Yet, sometimes the proceedings can feel a little like they glorify war, which I am not really comfortable with, either. I mean, I'm not surprised that the people leading Remembrance Day ceremonies aren't critically engaging with the question of why we fight in the first place or mourning that the soldiers had to be soldiers in the first place, but I guess a girl can dream.

Either way, I've felt like my pacifist values needed constant reconciliation with the day.

This year, however, I came across a tweet that helped me bring all that together. Unfortunately, I didn't save the tweet and I can't find it now, so you'll have to deal with my uncredited paraphrase:

The best way to honour those who died in wars in the past is to ensure we never ask anyone to die in another war, ever again.

I love that.

It grieves the lives lost without glorifying the context in which they were taken. It also drives us towards becoming the peacekeepers we (we being Canadians) pretend to be on the world stage. After all, I have a hard time believing that "lest we forget" was intended to be something we keep saying to remember new wars.

So let's remember those who died and honour their sacrifice.

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