11 Nov 2020
Today we commemorate Remembrance Day, honouring the men and women who died during World War 1. Many countries have other days of remembering people who died during times of war – in Australia Anzac Day in April and Remembrance Day on the 11 November are our big two. Remembrance Day is the day of poppies – where you hopefully don’t trip over an RSL member somewhere selling artificial poppies (it’s not poppy growing season in the Southern Hemisphere). They do tend to place themselves in places there they can be tripped over, however, possibly relying on the guilt of the trippee, to sell more poppies.
We are meant to stay silent at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and remember the fallen.
If you remember.
This year, I must confess that I’d got to midday before I remembered what I’d forgotten to do. I spent a quiet moment a little while ago reflecting on the people who suffered because of wars – those who died and those left behind on deal with the aftermath.
It was wonderfully quiet – possibly because my grandson had finally gone to sleep. Maybe I was giving thanks for that miracle, rather than the men and women who lost their lives in pursuit of the freedoms we now enjoy.
Of course, in the Heather’s Literary Diarrhoea world, Remembrance Day is also an excuse to write stuff about remembering.
Would you remember the tragedies life has inflicted on us as a world, as a nation, as a family, or as an individual, if you weren’t given reminders to do so? ….
In our time living in Texas, we made a lot of trips to San Antonio – it was close, it was a lovely place, and there was always something new to explore. We always took visitors to see the Riverwalk, and also to the Alamo. The catchphrase “Remember the Alamo” was used by the Texans to urge them forward in their struggle for independence from Mexico (there’s a whole blog to write one day about Texas…).
They are urged to remember possibly the biggest defeat they’ve ever suffered, to use that pain and heartache as incentive to find freedom.
Remembrance Day doesn’t urge us to only remember people who died in wars, or urge us on to retaliate against the enemy. I believe it urges us all to remember those who believed enough in the future of our country/countries, to put their lives on the line for it. To me it urges us towards peace, not war.
Of course, in my world, my best source for inspiration on the topic of remembering stuff is my Mum. Mum spent a number of years worrying about losing her memory. It was a very real concern for her, and many others too. The worry that you will not be able to recall the names of people who you haven’t seen for decades, and frankly aren’t likely to see again, was a big concern for her.
But the nature of ageing and memory loss is that it progresses (until it stops completely, of course). Mum told me the other day on the phone that she couldn’t remember what it was that she’s forgotten, so everything was ok.
Will we forget one day to acknowledge these days of commemoration, of acknowledging the people who died in wars, or in major accidents or terrorist incidents, or natural disasters? Will there just be new deaths in tragic circumstances that we need to acknowledge instead? Should we put our efforts instead to days of ‘Intentional avoidance of loss of life in wars and other horrible events’?
We won’t be NOT honouring the people who lost their lives in the past, but we would be honouring the reason they were put in the line of fire by making sure it doesn’t happen again.