Written by: Billie Clark
Today is November 11—Remembrance Day.
For me, Remembrance Day is extremely bittersweet. Both my great-grandfathers on my mom’s side fought in WWI, and their wives were war brides. My maternal grandfather, who I’m named after, fought, briefly, in WWII. I was born after they all died, so I find myself thinking of them during the moment of silence during the Remembrance Day service every year.
I have always believed that it is important to attend Remembrance Day services—when it was mandatory to attend throughout elementary and high school, the few times I’ve been to Cenotaph services and laid wreaths, and even the time I helped to organise the service at the TrentU Durham campus during my second year of university. It is important to remember those who fought, and continue to fight, and those who served and continue to serve.
We aren’t just remembering the heroes, the fallen warriors, but also the women and children who worked in factories or hospitals, the civilians who lost their lives in bombings and raids, the resistance fighters trying to free themselves from the shackles of oppression. It doesn’t matter whether you support current military operations, or despair of our imperial heritage—it is important to remember that these wars (World War One, World War Two, Vietnam, Boer, Iraq, and many more) represent more than just military action. There were casualties, and victims, and heroes; there are depictions in art, and music, and film, and fact.
If we forget, we aren’t just losing facts about a battle, numbers in a count—we are losing history, and stories, and lives. We are forgetting the oppression that was opposed and the tyranny that was triumphed over. War should not be romantic, but neither should it be forgotten.
There will be a Remembrance Day Ceremony held in front of the Library of the TrentU Durham campus today, starting at 10:50 am. Please come out, and please remember.