This morning I had the honour of participating in my university's Remembrance Day ceremony -- my choir sang an arrangement of In Flanders Fields and also led the congregation in a few hymns and the national anthems. I've participated this way as long as I've been in the choir. We get a good sized crowd out every year, standing quietly in the cold, but every year there are fewer and fewer veterans.
Canada has one remaining World War One veteran. He is a hundred and eight years old.
Sometimes people get uptight about Remembrance Day, usually in my experience those who are particularly anti-war.
"Those soldiers died for a lie -- those soldiers should never have been fighting -- dying for a country, that means less than nothing."
And if this is so, then what? Was their sacrifice any less worthy? Did they suffer less? Did they die easier? My friends, this is not so.
Regardless of your ideas about wars, or just wars, or unjust wars, this is an important day. We must recognize the sacrifices of both those who gave their lives for the country and those who survived -- who, in some ways, have given us even more.
Wear your poppy. Thank a veteran. Read some good books:
- The Wars, by Timothy Findley (WWI)
- All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque (WWI)
- A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway (WWI)
- The Guests of War Trilogy, by Kit Pearson (WWII)
- The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak (WWII)
- The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank (WWII)
- Catch-22, by Joseph Heller (WWII)
- The Bridge over the River Kwai, by Pierre Boulle (WWII)