A war cannot be won, so at best, if you can, count your losses and please do not forget.

The famous phrase of the writer, Rudyard Kipling endares us to remember, “lest we forget”.

Remembrance Day November 11th, 2019. Lest we forget! This phrase means there is a lesson learned and we are cautioned not to let it depart from our consciousness because we have the propensity to forget and repeat the action. A short phrase with an impactful message. A warning/appeal if you may, that something happened and should never be forgotten. This phrase asked us to not forget the fallen and greater than that, it is too costly, do not repeat it! The writer of this phrase Rudyard Kipling, made this appeal telling us to be wise and avoid the pitfall of repetition.

How refreshing and yet frightening is this simple statement (lest we forget) to the hearts of those who have pondered the urgency of this statement. I am hoping it is etched in the minds of our leaders present and future, to honor this statement for the sake of our children and their generations. If we forget we could repeat the tragedy of WW1 & WW2. In our time of remembering, we should be looking at our war history and remind ourselves that no one really won.

In my time of reflection, leading up to me writing this article I asked myself this question, could we do a close up project, by documenting some personal statements/quotes from our veterans in the form of an iconic tears drop of our men and women who are still with us before the last one passes away?

Our youngest Veteran, Calvin Leon Graham was only12 years old when he joined the ranks. We can all agree that he was too young to know better but he had obtained favor from above, This brave soldier died at age 62 of a heart failure. He is silent now, but is it possible that if he was asked to share a quote with us, he likely would have shared some words of wisdom before his passing? Realistically, it could have been a tearful/emotional thing for him to do, but nothing is wrong with a few tears; he survived the war.

Tears are a language in themselves. We often try to classify them but authentication can be sketchy at best since the person who is tearing up, is the only one who can accurately validate those tears . In classifying our tears we could say they are unspoken words flowing from an emotional vein. What we believe is that they do represent a myraid of different emotions. I think it would be safe to say, the tears of our Veterans would be tears of sadness since no one won the war. War is not set-up for anyone to win. The price of WW1 & WW2 was too high and the value of those lost lives cannot be measured.

True to our charge to remember, we should actively be engaged in the lives of our Veterans who are slipping away from our presence . Who then is ready to catch those last tears of our valiant group? Let’s not war anymore because we don’t have what it takes to win a war. If one drop of blood is spilt we have lost the battle.

War as we know it, only takes from us, and for some of us we spend decades asking ourselves was there a different way? When we reflect on our recent federal election one word that comes to my mind is (toxic). Sad to say we are fighting among ourselves. What will we not do? How far will our leaders go? If they are doing this publicly, what do they do behind closed doors? This kind or rethoric coud destabilize our country. Do we have any enemies?

Let us focus on the people who made a real difference for our country and our lifestyle; our Veterans. Let us talk to them and talk about them, by telling their stories from their point of view until the last one is laid to rest. As we usually do on November 11th, let us reflect not only on their dwindling presence, since many of them have passed away but let us begin to envision their total absence. This will help us to continue to honor the phrase “lest we forget”.

It would be a mistake not to keep them alive in words and deeds. The dead has no power but their labour/accomplishment can live on. When we can exhume a body we cannot exhume the thoughts. Our Veterans are an integral part of our history and we can color the pages of our history books by doing what is good for our honored men and women. If history wasn’t important we would not have thought it in schools.

My thoughts then about the value of our Veterans is for someone/a group with the drive, tenacity, hope, vision and the connection to start looking at how we can preserve the knowledge of these Veterans by creating a book of quotes enveloped by iconic tear drops. Graphics of course would play a role in creating this piece of work. This book would mainly have graphs, designed to accommodate a picture in the first column of this veteran in uniform, name in the second column, date of birth in the third column, quote in the fourth column written inside the graphic icon of a tear. If the veteran is not able to speak and there is a living spouse or family member they can provide the quote if possible. An asterisk could be used to represent silence. Which means the Veteran is still alive but no longer speaks.

Let’s capture what is left of WW2. September 1st 1939- Sept. 2nd,1945. This would create a history book of quotes by each presently living Veteran. Their grandchildren/generations could have the privilege of hearing/seeing those famous last words.This is only a thought but if it was made possible it would be one more piece of documented work which would help the generations to come; “lest they forget”.

“Lest we forget” the dark days, especially the days of WW2 when everywhere their blood was shed, like the waters of a great water fall. To that end we lost the battle because a war cannot be won. At best we hear the blood of our fallen comrades, calling from the earth beneath us, we died for all; big and small, make no mistake we gave it all!

In accordance, from my heart of reflection to their hearts, once full of hope, I salute the living remnant of our brave men and women. I cherish their gift of “peace & security” which they made possible for me by not counting the cost.

Erma Washington
Nov 11th, 2019.


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