Is it possible that there were more articles and more coverage than I have ever seen before on the topic of Remembrance Day in Canada today? If so, I would guess that it was thanks to the very recent attacks on Canadian military personnel on home soil. But what I would like to address, which I didn’t happen to read in my media sampling, is how we can look at one thing in more than one way.
In my Facebook news feed and in the comments sections of a few newspapers I perused today, I saw two opposing views of Remembrance Day: 1. We must remember and honour the fallen from war; 2. War is terrible, so the military’s history and current existence should be excluded from our attention or support. I originally wanted to add the word, “glamourizing” to the 2nd view (I saw it used today), but decided against because I don’t think it’s applicable for the traditions of November 11th.
To be transparent, I used to lean towards the 2nd view. Such a view can be met with condemnation by peers because it is less popular and because I think it makes it look like somebody has “no heart.” As I got older, I came to appreciate both views quite equally. Yes, war is terrible, but it will always happen (in the foreseeable future of humankind) and there will always be victims, likely on every side.
If one can understand that young men and women sometimes enter the military because it is what their peers or family do, or because it is a relatively easy economic or procedural choice, then one can learn to respect that reality. Not every person has the same thoughts or feelings or values or experiences that you might have. Sure, it can be considered “an unfortunate choice” — but that’s only an opinion.
If one can also understand that conscription (draft) took place in the First World War in Canada, then one can also see that it left many young people without a choice. Today was a day to remember that lack of choice.
With all the above said, I strongly believe that a lot of what we believe (irony!) is based on a very thin layer of knowledge and experience. We only partially know how our minds work and only partially know what the universe really is. So for any person to say, “THIS IS DEFINITELY THE WAY SHOULD BE!” on almost any matter to me is out of order. Even regarding family, friends, religion, politics. Universally speaking, all four of those topics are microscopically important — but we like to make them big and meaningful. Making little things big and meaningful is okay on one hand because it gives us the satisfaction of living in a framework that we can understand. On the other hand, it destroys neutral or objective views on anything.
My point is that taking a hard side on the Remembrance Day debate, like so many other things, is irrelevant in the big picture. I do think that war is undesirable and we can wish for otherwise, but wishing doesn’t achieve anything. I choose to look at war as something inevitable, so in a way it is neither bad nor good. I also choose to remember those who have fallen because I love all life and all people.
Any one thing can be seen in more than one way. I have a song release upcoming called, “Iguanas,” that reflects this way of thinking.