November 11, 2008

Lest we forget

Car un enfant qui pleure,
Qu'il soit de n'importe où
Est un enfant qui pleure;

Car un enfant qui meurt
Au bout de vos fusils
Est un enfant qui meurt.
[Because a child who cries, where ever it may be, is a child who cries;
Because a child who dies, at the point of your guns, is a child who dies.]

Barbara, Perlinpinpin

I'm not generally one for making speeches; that's R's role in the family. But last night, as N and a handful of friends were getting ready to go out on the town, all of them feeling lucky to have a day away from classes in the middle of the week, I took it upon myself to remind them just why they have the day free today. There are so many people for whom Remembrance Day is "just that day off in November" and another day to shop. I didn't want N and her friends to fall into that category.

Four pairs of teenage eyes sat fixed on me as I delivered my speech about remembering those who fought and died for the sake of peace and about honouring those who still do. I believe it went over fairly well although I know it's hard for someone to comprehend hardship if they've never known it.

Today the rain fell heavy outside, pretty much non-stop all day. I sat at home working on sketches for my Christmas cards, thinking about the people marching to the cenotaphs in today's ceremonies. I didn't want to go out in the rain, to stand in the cold and damp. Yet the men who died in the trenches of WWI and in the battles WWII endured much worse things than the weather. And the men and women who fight in modern-day conflicts endure much greater ordeals than a couple of hours in the rain.

Today, the issues which conflicts are based on are much more complex and murky -- much less black and white. But regardless of how we may feel about our troops in Afghanistan, our soldiers there take on their roles with the same conviction and the same selflessness as the men who fought and died to make Canada safe all those many years ago. They deserve our respect and all the blessings we, in our safe and bountiful lives, can muster.


Eraethil said...

Well said Katka!

Katka said...

Thank you. I was hoping I didn't come across sounding too preachy.