Thursday, 11 November 2010

A Day for Remembering

Remember us too!  A grey squirrel just came to my den window (yes ... on the second floor) to remind me that I haven't been out to the feeders yet this morning.  He is very bold ... and Kenya could hardly believe her eyes!  Just be patient until I bring out cereal, dried apricots and almonds along with the sunflower seeds.

Remembering New York: I met with my newest students yesterday ... a pleasant lesson ... nice people ... They are travelers so we are spending the first few lessons planning a trip to New York City.  It works out well because Azra, one of the women, is going there in December.  It brought back memories of my only trip to that city.  Memories both good and not so good.  But isn't that the way with most things?

And of course it is Remembrance Day. The last few years I taught, my senior classes studied war literature every fall and then, on November 11, shared with the rest of the school their feelings and ideas.  I don't think a single student emerged from that experience without feeling a profound respect and sadness for the soldiers who gave their lives and limbs in the wars, young men not much older than they were.  But merged with that sympathy  was a repugnance for war.  I experience those same feelings every November 11. 

I don't think that pacifism and respect for those who fonght are contradictory at all. 

And I don't think that feeling sadness for the loss of all those young lives on both sides of a conflict is a sign of disrespect or lack of patriotism.  I am sure that the lives of young Germans and young Japanese were and are as valuable as those of young Canadians; that each of the soldiers who fell left behind people who loved them and unfulfilled possibilities.

A friend recommended Pierre Berton's Vimy, so I have ordered it. May we never experience that kind of wholesale slaughter again.  I doubt if we will ever see an end to war, but let us hope that we have learned that human lives have more worth than we accorded them during the world wars.


Barbara Carlson said...

It is encouraging to me that when a soldier dies, their names are given and tributes made. Each single soldier.
Vimy's slaughter makes me sick. Now the number add up more slowly, but still regrettably.

Harper now wants Canadian soldiers to remain another year. How to withdraw without disrespecting the soldiers who died thus far...tricky and so sad. Taliban evilness will never be squelched I fear. There are always a certain number of psychopaths on earth in any culture, country.

kingmisha said...

There is no contradiction in my mind either about respecting the memories of the fallen and wanting to see an end to war. I think that's going on in most people's minds. We don't need a white poppy stand for peace. That hope is embodied in the red poppy.