Lest We Forget

It’s needless to say that for Remembrance Day this year there will be more than enough to reflect on. This past year and a half has been filled with events that force us to reconsider what it means to be Canadian, to be a community that supports each other, and to be a source of good in the world.

As we reflect on all these things, I’m left with a question:

What exactly does Remembrance Day
mean to me, right now?

And perhaps a little naively, I offer one simple perspective. It starts with the poem:

In Flanders Fields

A poem by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Passing On The Torch

As I read the poem this year, although I’ve read it and heard it recited many times in the past, I was drawn to this one particular phrase:

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.

And I think this sums up quite nicely how I’m feeling about Remembrance Day this year.

Today, we honour those brave people who gave up their lives to give us a land of peace. They fought and died for the dream that their country could be a better place, and that future generations could live in a world that was better than the current one.

And I think we’ve been passed on that very same torch…it just looks a bit different now. We know more than previous generations, and we’re learning more every day about our own limited perspectives and the structures of oppression that surround us.

The peace and freedom that we fight for today is not necessarily won on a battlefield; but it’s just as important for us and the people around us.

Lest We Forget

This is my takeaway for Remembrance Day this year. I am grateful to those in the past who have sacrificed their lives so that I can have the life I now live. But more importantly, I don’t want to forget that I now have the duty to keep fighting for what they fought for. There is still more to be done.

Luckily, I am not alone. Every day I hear stories of good deeds, big and small, that make our community a better place. From the Covenant House Vancouver Kitchen Team preparing a delicious Diwali meal, to the 60+ executives choosing to spend a night of discomfort out in the cold in order to show their love and support for homeless youth; there are plenty of stories out there of amazing people continuing to fight for peace and freedom in our world.

And so we fight on.