Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Is Peace Possible?

Today is Remembrance Day, or as it was called when I was a youngster, Armistice Day. While the name was changed in 1931 here in Canada from Armistice Day to Remembrance Day, there were a great many men around in my childhood who still remembered that day when the First World War, or as the now ironic propaganda said "The War To End All Wars", came to an end. Today I remember.

I remember my Grandfathers, maternal and paternal, and my Great-Grandfather though I never met him. I remember my uncles who fought in World War II. I remember my Dad, who fought in Korea. I think of my brothers, both of whom served in the Canadian Navy, and my nephew who served with the US military in Iraq. We are a family studded with military medals and service, yet none of the above died in action; we seem to be a lucky lot. Some served in war, some served in peace. They all served.

While I remember those who served in the military, I also think of those who have served and died in the cause of peace, in the advancement of freedom. I think of those innocents whose lives were taken, are still being taken, by those who would use force to advance their political, social, religious, or geographic desires. We talk about those who died fighting, willingly giving up their lives in advancement of their nation's desires. Yet we talk little of all those who died without even knowing the causes or reasons, all those still dying. We need to remember both the willing participants and the innocent victims. War takes them all.

Somewhere in the world today, people will be killed in armed attacks. Innocent civilians will die in bombing raids. Children will be killed in gunfire randomly shot from behind a barricade. Mothers will see their young dead around them. The young will see their lifeless parents beside them. This has been true in all wars; it is still true today. As a nation we are once again at war.

My hope is that one day we will celebrate Remembrance Day as the day we remember what war does to us, both as a people and as a planet. My hope is that one day the idea of using military force to solve a political, social or religious issue will be antithetical to human nature. My hope is that one day all mankind will rise above its own petty greed and selfishness to see that there is a peaceful solution to all things where people are willing to work towards it.

I won't see this in my lifetime. Perhaps it will never happen. We, as a species, are particularly good at killing, and procreating. We will have a constant supply of young men and women who will believe the propaganda, who will listen to the zealots. I wonder if peace is actually possible.


  1. "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin wiith me". Oh if only that easy!

  2. We keep saying, "Lest we forget". And then we do!