Remember our fallen soldiers and focus on peace, humanity and unity

This week, we are asked to remember.

The Veteran’s Affairs ( website says to remember the First World War, Second World War, and the Korean War. There is nothing there about Afghanistan — yet so many have died there.

Do conflicts not count? Do the families of those killed there not deserve to have their kin remembered on Nov. 11? Does the war/conflict have to be written up in the history books, with Canada’s role neatly explained, before we can honour our losses? Could it be that only some deaths are memorable? Hardly.

To everyone who has felt a hole in his or her life due to the loss of a loved one, we know that every death means something to so many — regardless of their side of the conflict, or the battle they fought.

Whether someone has died in the fight against cancer, or in fighting a fire, or in peacekeeping efforts halfway around the world, the loss is deep, and memorable.

I want to say that I am proud of Canada’s military involvement, but our role is harder to understand with every new death. When does it end? Is there a better way?

I remember watching the movie Saving Private Ryan, being horrified at what people did in the name of peace — it sure didn’t look peaceful, and no one in their right mind would choose to find themselves in those surroundings.

But then there is honour and duty that causes us to do things we would never choose (partially out of guilt?).

My grandfather was in the Second World War and survived to tell the tale. Interestingly enough, he would not tell the tale of war. He never spoke of the horrid conditions, the gore, and the lifeless bodies around him. He never spoke of those killed by Allies or enemies. He focused instead on tales of camaraderie, friendship, and ways of making life liveable by trading goods with locals. He would clam up if any atrocities were raised. He did not want to remember them.

I called him when I finished watching the war movie and thanked him for defending our current way of life. Now, years later, I wonder if our way of life has become too excessive. Is it really the model to which we should all aspire?

People can say that if we didn’t fight in Afghanistan horrible things would happen. Yet, horrible things are happening.

People can say that if Canada wasn’t involved in the Second World War that evil would have prevailed. We don’t know that.

Does Switzerland have Remembrance Day?

Considering our high level of immigration, I would think that the ultimate melting pot of the world should be neutral ground. How can we fight in any conflict when we are likely made up of citizens and residents on both sides of the fight?

Why can’t we say, “This is not our war,” and mean it?

Did we have to fight Hitler? Yes. We had to stop his senseless slaughter.

Is every conflict as clearcut? Unfortunately not.

Do peacekeepers have to shoot back if being shot at? I suppose.

Wars and conflicts are generally based on economics or religion, which are difficult topics to understand at best. Are we sure that we are on the “right” side of the battle? Do we have the right to tell others how to live?

What would Ghandi say about Remembrance Day? Would he honour those who chose a path (or were forced down a path) of violence?

I’m not trying to disrespect our soldiers; I’m respecting them in the hope that we don’t have to lose any more of them.

I don’t want to see yellow ribbons; they make me sad, not proud. I want to see mommies and daddies playing with their children, and boyfriends kissing their girlfriends. I don’t want to read about any more Canadians who have died embroiled in a conflict in which our role is unclear.

Do people enlist in the military to kill or be killed? No, for some it is a way out of poverty with free college, or a job. For others, there is a sense of duty, honour and patriotism.

Somewhere in the recruiting speech (by parents or officers) there is the inevitable, “There are risks and you may die, but you will die fighting for your country, an honourable death.”

Isn’t that what suicide bombers are told?

Who is the enemy? As I wear my poppy, I remember the fallen and the wounded, with the hope that we can move forward and focus: on peace, not war; on humanity, not religions; on the environment, not economics; and on unity, not differences.

“There will be no Homeland Security until we realize that the entire planet is our homeland. Every sentient being in the world must feel secure.” — John Perkins, economist and author.

Nadine is a marketing and public relations consultant and can be reached at the. Her column appears every second Wednesday, except this week.

Article ID# 2172399

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