I don't often go to Remembrance day ceremonies in person. I did as a child, and as a teen, both in the city I lived in and in my school, in so far as they existed and we were encouraged to attend. Even today I still have In Flanders Field memorized and was able to recite it around 11 am before observing my own moment of introspection. As a teen I wrote poetry, reflecting on how the wars in the past impacted me and the world in which I live — I even won my school's poetry contest for this once and had to read my work in public at my school's assembly. But as an adult most of my reflection is more personal.
I see all the postings on social media, I read a number of articles online (some of which are also published in hard copy newspapers etc.) and I take my own time to reflect on war, on history repeating itself, and on what little we as the current generation of folks living on this Canadian (or elsewhere in the world) soil remember/know/etc. about conflicts past, present, and future. 2014 commemorates many anniversaries of wars and events, and that might make it more or less easy to keep this information in our public consciousness. When two Canadian soldiers were killed recently the fears reminded me of how fortunate we all are that we don't happen to live in an active warzone where we see this type of violence envelop our immediate environments every day.
When I was a kid, I read a lot of war literature, mostly focusing on the Second World War. As an adult I've paid more attention to other conflicts including Vietnam, Korea, World War I, Afghanistan, and Iraq, but not just limited to those. The Cold War, and the War on Terror and well so many other conflicts are worth our attention. Even wars and conflicts that happen to be further in our collective histories or so remote that we otherwise wouldn't remember them have import on our day to day lives. And quite honestly I have no desire to repeat our pasts when it comes to genocides, deaths of innocents, escalations of violence, reduction of freedoms etc.
Remembrance Day is a day of reflection for me, both on our histories and our present statuses in the world, but also on how we can move forward learning from our pasts as cultures, as countries, as people, as human beings, and hopefully just hopefully doing better. Because repeating our pasts is really not worth it. The news can be a scary scary place. As could the future be. And I'd rather look forward to awesomeness.