10 November 2006

Remembrance...no place for politics

I saw a story on the evening news the other day that irritated me to no end. In conjunction with Remembrance Day, an Alberta store is selling white “Peace Poppies.”

The white poppy project is spearheaded by the U.K.-based Peace, Pledge Union (PPU). The PPU is an independent / activist organization that preaches non-violence with a shared aim to work towards creating a world free from war. Subsequently, as you can imagine, they do not support the war effort (past nor present). Their pledge reads as follows:

“War is a crime against humanity. I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.” ~ PPU pledge

Proceeds from the white poppy project go towards the PPU and their various activist campaigns. Proceeds from traditional red poppies are given to the Royal Canadian Legion to support veteran care initiatives. Many feel that peace activists are hijacking our long-standing symbol of remembrance. For veterans, this is a blatant insult and a slap in the face that contradicts the very principles of Remembrance Day…I fully agree without hesitation.

Remembrance Day, is simply that - it is a day to ‘remember’ the brave men and woman who lost or risked their lives in order to defend our nation, our freedom and ideals. It is a day to reflect, to mourn and to appreciate; it is NOT a day to protest or politicize.

People died for us, they made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the lives that we live so freely today. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the war effort or not, these soldiers command respect for their selflessness and bravery. How many of us can honestly say that we would make the same sacrifice for our nation? Not many, I gather.

Perhaps I am biased because both my grandfathers were active in the war. My maternal grandfather drove a tank throughout the war through some of the bloodiest battles of Italy in WWII. He seldom spoke of his time in Europe; my mother thinks that the memories were too painful for him. I have no doubt that he lost many friends on the battlefield and it was something that haunted him for the rest of his life. I wonder what he would think of the white poppy?

I also wonder what my great uncle would think. The only memory I have of him, is an inscription on a war memorial in New Brunswick. Dead at age 20…do you think this is how he and his fallen comrades wish to be remembered?

In no way am I knocking the concept of peace - it is a desirable goal. I have no problem with people voicing their opinions and promoting a better alternative to war; I think it is a positive message that needs to be spread. However, I think that November 11th should remain a day of remembrance and not an opportunity to argue the validity of war.

I am 25 years old. I have never known war. I have grown up with all that a child could want or wish for. I have a family and education. I have a country that I am proud to live in and call home. All these wonderful things exist, in part, because of selfless individuals who answered the call. I owe them a debt of gratitude, we all do.

Tomorrow I will stand at the Cenotaph in Ottawa and applaud our veterans. I will be wearing a red poppy, not a white one. I will not think of politics. I will not judge. I will simply remember.

1 comment:

Foxy1081 said...

Here Here!!! Stupid hippies!!