I feel the effects of 11 November fairly deeply, although I live in a peaceful country. The giant wars of the last century involved Canada, but not as a theatre of operations, and apart from a brief and hopefully never-repeated recent bellicosity we incline more towards peace-keeping than peace-making (one of those euphemisms one can spend a long time unpacking), and yet the nature and value of military service frequently occupies my imagination and at certain times reduces me to prostrated grief. I don’t claim any virtue for this attitude; it may be a side-effect of having imagination or empathy to a certain degree, or it may just be a selfish echo of “thank goodness it wasn’t me”. There is certainly an element of selfish consideration in it, given that my father spent his childhood under Nazi occupation and I appreciate at second-hand those who levered him out from under the jackboot.
The point of what I mean to be a short entry is simply this. Think about the fallen, and those maimed in their body and mind by passing through the experience of war. If you don’t think about them at other times, then at least spare a minute for them tomorrow. I won’t presume to know the motivations of each soldier, but what they were about was at least presented to them as defending their fellows from death and oppression, and in pursuit of that defense they paid with curtailment or deformation of their entire future. Doesn’t that deserve at least a minute’s reflection, if not a regular offering of tears? Doesn’t it call for some consideration on how, as those for whom such price was paid, we might conduct ourselves in making the world the better place, in which such extravagant expenditure would never be called for again?
Utopian. Certainly. Still, even if you’re less flamboyant in your outlook, give them a thought.