ERMA's desk...: Remembrance Day, a time for serious reflections

Take a moment to reflect at the 11th hour on the 11th day.

There are so many to remember, to honour and to thank.

Take a moment…

Caption: With the passing of time humans often fall into the routine of tradition, which is sad, because tradition is often celebrated without the potency of the true meaning of what we celebrate. November 11th can be a day of reflection in honour of those who fought for our freedom. Let’s keep our focus on the purpose, especially on those who died too early but simply ask us “not to forget their act of bravery”, with the ultimate sacrifice of a bloody war where innocence is displayed by the evidence of each poppy now decorating Flanders Field.

Trust is a virtue and a necessary trait that should be found in humans, which separates us from every other species on earth. With Remembrance Day on the horizon, many Canadians have already donned their Red Poppy on the lapel of their garment, as an expression of their understanding, of what it cost us to live in a free world. The poppy should be a reminder to us of the virtues of the precious lives we lost to war. In the spirit of Canada’s leadership, our Prime Minister will lay a wreath in honouring those brave men and women who simply asked us to “Remember”. If we say we “Remember”, let us not ignore the greatest teacher- reflection.

How meaningful and symbolic is our poppy? Are we conscious of the meaning of the poppy? If we have the opportunity to talk to those who we are remembering, what would our message be to those who died so we could live? Would we be proud to say we have honoured our commitment to you, by seeking resolutions and pursuing peace? Could we honestly say we have learned from our historic past? As Canadians, if we don’t reflect on why we have these ceremonies then we are just caught up in a ritual, or could it be that we know that the rest of the world is looking at us, and with the power of the free press in a free world, we would be scolded? Canada is a patriotic country and our people are genuinely proud of the legacy of those who fought and died for the freedom which they enjoy.

In this conversation of accountability, could we say we hold your death in high esteem and have not betrayed your purpose by choosing to sacrifice other young men and women? The answer would be yes, we have. Could we say we have learned a tough lesson? Could we say our past actions which lead to the diminishing of our homeland capabilities, as the skills, gifts and knowledge of our fallen soldiers now lay in the cemeteries never to be discovered? Could we say to them that we have identified the degree of the huge void left in our county because they have left us too early? No, we could not say those things because those are undiscovered jewels, which cannot be measured because they were in potential form rather than production form.

As the conversation continues, could we honestly say to our fallen comrades that those who survived the disastrous bloodshed, we have and are caring for them in an appropriate manner to honour their sacrifice? Could we say that those who are alive and sadly living with the nightmare of seeing mass killings and tasted death themselves, but survived by a slender thread, are enjoying the privileges they fought for? Would we be happy to escort our soldiers to our hospitals and proudly show them the “wing of the hospitals” that are dedicated to our veterans? Reflectively, we still have time to change the way we do business on behalf of our most vulnerable who saw human lives falling like stars raining from the night sky. They may remain nameless and faceless to us who sleep well in our homes but we never want to appear as an enemy to those who have fallen. Let’s be reminded that our peace came with a price we could not afford.

Would we be proud to show that the affairs of our veterans are a top priority? Would we be able to show where the sacrifices of our soldiers are instituted in the education curriculum throughout the school years? Reflection would say this information is worthy to grace the pages of our educational historical material? The next generation needs to know why peace is a needed foundation. They need to know we value them enough, which is the reason we will use avoidance strategy at all cost, to ensure they enjoy a bright future. They need to know so they do not take it for granted, and in the evening of our lives, they take us into war, because they were not informed of the cost of their legacy.

At the end of our conversation would our fallen comrades honestly say to us “well done”?

Let us reflect, lest we truly forget! If we don’t pass on this information by demonstrating the importance of the sacrifice they made to the next generation we have omitted the reason/cost, the burden of our peaceful lives and in a more general term our lavish existence. We have an obligation to educate, demonstrate and honour our promise to those who entrusted us with the freedom for which they perished. Could we say with confidence that reflection is a great teacher and while we show an outward expression of remembering we may have neglected reflection? Hindsight must be 20/20 in our leaders, allowing it to trickle down to the citizens and the rest of the world who is looking on. Hopefully, reflection will dictate that war is never the answer but peace is the anchor that will shelter us all, resulting in life’s greatest gift; the gift of love that will never die. With November 11th, approaching let us be intentional and embody peace allowing it to restore us in seedtime and harvest and may our love for each other endure forever.

Happy Reflection!

Erma Washington

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