Remembrance Day: what should we really write about it?

Remembrance Day: what should we write about it?

The poppies of Flanders Fields,
where the terrible fighting in the trenches
took place during World War One

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

For some people, the whole concept of Remembrance Day seems a bit outdated. After all, it dates back to the Armistice that was signed back in 1919.

But what does it mean to us now, in 2013? Is it outdated or, in fact, is it something that’s every bit as relevant now as it was 94 years ago?

According to Wikipedia, Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognised as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries.”

“Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” in accordance with the Armisticesigned by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. (“At the 11th hour” refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am) World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.[1]

It’s so wrong, and yet necessary

Remembrance Day: what should we write about it

The graves of brave soldiers at
Arlington Cemetary,
Virginia, USA

This all gets entangled into politics in a way that, as I see it, wars have always been about. Wars have been part of our history for thousands of years … territorial disputes, political disagreements, religious differences. All futile, stupid loss of life, often for less than honorable reasons.

I remember in May, 1982, watching the sinking of the Belgrano in the south-west Atlantic and feeling my heart sink at the same time. What a heartless, useless loss of life as the Faulkands/Malvinas turned out to be, and all due to (allegedly) a commercial and political dispute between Argentina and the UK rumored to be about potential oil drilling in that area.

I cried not just for about 250 young British lives lost in that war, but also for about 650 more Argentines who lost their lives, too. Most of them young , thriving, relatively innocent (in political terms) and vibrant young people who should have had the right to live their lives. But BOOM. Politics, money and territorial rights were more important.

Not what Remembrance Day should be about, though

Cynic that I am, I know I must shut up about the politics and focus on the brave lads and lasses who go out there and defend their countries, no matter what their leaders’ ulterior motives might be.

Remembrance Day must honor everyone who has had the faith in the politicians and the sheer patriotism, to go out there and face “the music…” likely to be the heat, cold, dust, dirt, mud, faeces, urine, vomit, starvation, dehydration, pain, loneliness, injury, death, destruction, violence and all the other horrors of war … in the name of standing up for our countries and our freedom.

My Dad, and his Dad, both fought with the Canadian Forces in WW2 and WW1 in Europe respectively. Both made it home alive, but thousands upon thousands of their comrades didn’t.

Much as I might hate the politics behind any of these wars – ancient or current – I salute those men and women who have the balls to go out there and fight for what they believe in.

I mourn for those who did the same but didn’t manage to come home in one functioning piece, or at all.

How do you feel about Remembrance Day, wars, and the people who fight for their countries?

Please share your views and tributes with us here.

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family (don’t forget the Holiday Season is coming soon)…

photo credit: foxypar4 via photopin cc

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  1. […] of our US readers today at your time of remembrance, and sharing your desire for worldwide peace. May we writers contribute towards that as much as we […]

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