Here’s a math problem for Remembrance Day, if they were looking for a guest speaker with WW II experience for the 2022 eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month ceremony. The question is: “How old would that guest speaker be?”
Facts to be considered: WW II ended in 1945; any man or woman who served would likely be at least 19 during that year. You do the math.
Yes, I said “…or woman…” Thousands of women toiled in the munitions factories and shipyards, ferried aircraft from factory to air bases, drove supply trucks behind the frontlines and treated and comforted the wounded.
If you’ve done your math, you’d realize any WW II veteran guest speaker would be more than just ‘quite elderly’. Unfortunately, wars seem to generate new veterans every year, from the Korean ‘Conflict’ and numerous United Nations attempts at peace keeping. All too often, there never was a peace to keep, nor a peace that endured. It’s almost as if there’s a desire to wage war in our DNA.
Mr. Putin’s current tragic misadventure in Ukraine is one of the most sophisticated, brutal and pointless uses of technology. Due to his invasion of Ukraine, we will have many guest speakers with first-hand war experience from that conflict.
Here’s a more peaceful situation. As this week’s photograph shows, there are those who care and help us to remember. Fortunately, there are government agencies and private volunteers who devote time, toil and resources to maintain and preserve military cemeteries, cenotaphs, museums and battle sites. We need those reminders to tell of those who served, those survived and those who fell.
Lest we forget (borrowing from John McCrae), as long as “…poppies blow between the crosses, row on row…we throw the torch…yours to hold it high.”
We show our respect by remembering, by maintaining the memorials in good order, by learning from the heroism and horrors of the past, by educating the next generation and by more than just observing a moment of silence. There have been too many silences that let the atrocities of war go unremembered and current ones not dealt with.