Remembrance Day Stirs Emotions
As we approach the eleventh day of the eleventh month I can’t help but to reflect. Seeing the veterans canvassing about town and the poppies gently pinned on lapels of coats ensures that it is a sobering time. It’s time to remember the fighters and the fallen.
Adding to my pensive mood is the knowledge that it is November. We are in my dreaded month that we call November. My impulse to look back on the year and start to make plans for any 2019 adjustments is remarkably strong.
However, this year I have tried to hedge my bets, even more, by hosting a pop up event and planning the longest vacation to date that I will have the privilege to enjoy. In short, trying to keep busy so that my mind won’t wander too far into – at times – blue introspection. Even with all the flurry of activity, in these quieter few days between pop up and my plane taking off my mind has started to meander.
I think about the soldiers. What would it be like to fight for your country against vile abhorrence? What would it be like to listen and perform every direction the superior asked of you? What would it be like to lose a friend at war? What about the scarce - but sometimes true - reality of recognizing a mate from back home across the enemy lines? They too, would have been called to fight for their country, likely with partial information on what they were fighting for. My heart aches for them.
I think about the folks back home during the war years. All the work, personal sacrifice, and effort they would have had to endure to provide for the military abroad. Sewing uniforms, rationing food, women wearing pants – gasp (levity is needed now and then) – all the while providing for their family members at home. I am deeply thankful for them.
I think about those who remember. I am curious about those who choose to wear a poppy. Some wear it because they hear they should. Others are more intentional being sure to put it on leading up to the eleventh and being respectful enough to take it off on the twelfth. It’s a powerful, yet simple symbol that has endured nearly one hundred years.
I think about those who have died outside of the atrocities of war. Although I know my focus should be on the veterans, I can’t help but to think of all lost loved ones. They, too, are missed.
I think about the state of the world now. How we seem to be vastly divided and bombarded with hateful messages. The steady, deliberate strikes against vulnerable peoples: women, people of colour, differently able, those with health issues, the LGBTQ population, new neighbours, the young and old alike – basically any person(s) who isn’t a white male – weigh heavy on me too. History has taught us – if we would listen and shape our shit the F up – that terror is not just one moment, but a series of many that lead all of us to a tipping point. Are we standing up, fighting against and against our current, modern villains? Even if they are across the dinner table? Have we reached a tipping point?
Whenever I see a poppy, I think of all of these things. “Life contains multitudes,” I remind myself. There is good and bad and okay and lovely and horrible and it’s all crushing down at us at once.
I know that love and kindness is the only way to the other side. There is no way around the issues; we must work through them. Perhaps while we remember the fallen, we can take a second from the madness and love those who are here, alive, trying to enjoy the freedom hard fought for.
Lest We Forget.