I remember red velvet poppies from the time I was a little girl, except back then I would remove the pin, fold the poppy in half and pretend that I had a beautiful pair of bright red lips to place over my own. Remembrance Day was Poppy Day for me. Obviously this has all changed.
Remembrance Day is about the World Wars, but this means that it is about so much more. To me these wars are the quintessential examples of the triumph of good over evil. Perhaps if the media were as powerful back then as it is today even this would not be so clear. The day is about the clarity of right and wrong. It is about loss, bravery, fear, innocence, sacrifice and survival. This can all apply to the soldiers as well as to the citizens they protected.
When I think about the soldiers on Remembrance Day I am mainly thinking about those involved in the Second World War but my feelings pertain as well to those who fought in the Great War and to those who are now fighting in Afghanistan. I think about their youth and the extreme sometimes ultimate sacrifices that they along with their families have made for their countries. By saying their countries I mean we, the people who live in their countries. We owe each of these soldiers a debt of gratitude. Let’s not be fooled. we could not be leading the lives we do if not for the soldiers who for many different reasons choose to defend our liberty and our basic right to survival when we are at risk.
Each year at Passover we are told to view the Exodus as though it is our own personal liberation from slavery, this is how I see Remembrance Day. If it were not for some unknown soldiers who liberated my mother in law she would have perished. I cannot but feel indebtedness to these once young men who gave her back the possibility of a future and in so doing created a possible future for me with my husband and my children.
To all the soldiers who have fought and to those who continue to fight against the evil of oppression and hatred, I and millions like me thank you and remember you.
I would like to recommend two excellent Canadian novels set within the backdrop of the Great War. They are: Deafening by Frances Itani and The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart.