|American cemetery at Omaha Beach|
Each year, especially since I moved to Ottawa, I realize the Commonwealth countries do this day right, better than the American version. My daughter when to a school named after John McRae, who wrote In Flanders Field. Which, I guess, is what made the poppies so central to our remembrance activities. This year, there has been more discussion of what the poppies mean, whether we should be required (!) to wear them, whether the racists on national television (Don Cherry) should be banned for arguing that immigrants don't wear the poppy, and so on. Yes, we live in more polarizing times, and it touches on everything.
For this Remembrance Day, I will try to remember the ideas for which these folks sacrificed their lives, knowing that we have fallen short both before and now. We ought not idealize the conflicts of the past, but we should still take seriously that those who go to war are doing it for their friends, their family, their battle buddies, their country, regardless of whether the politicians and generals who lead them are well-intentioned or not.