I like the Canadian version better: Remembrance Day, with its theme, “Lest We Forget.” So one needn’t limit oneself to the response of thanking all vets for their brave and selfless service, and I’m Proud to be and American, ’cause at least I know I’m free,” and can consider whether the sacrificing of soldiers in war is even a good idea, and to take sober warning against resorting to war or allowing the preconditions of war to develop. Even parents have to swallow the doctrine, or, how could they face themselves? They’d have to get involved with the Peace movement, and we can’t have that–not patriotic.
As I moved about the dim room while the proscribed Vet’s Day video was on (during my prep, when others lead the activities), I was trying not to mutter under my breath about how military recruiters disproportionately target the youth of poorer communities, that recruits are fed an oversimplified view of the reasons for combat and a doctrine that does not allow them to consider the rightness or wrongness of war, or to have much opportunity to be trained in diplomacy, political science, and social effects of war. How when they come back physically and emotionally scarred, it’s tough to rationalize their losses in the name of “our freedoms.”
When I was young I used to go to the service at the cenotaph, felt it was my duty, lest I forgot. They were solemn occasions, cold wind blowing, dead leaves drifting down, everyone bundled up in dark coats feeling not pride but loss. That’s the way it should be. May you remember, this Veteran’s Day.