On this Remembrance Day

I think and reflect, like many years on what has come before. But this year, too, I worry about what might yet come to pass. Now is a time when I don't want to think about the future in certain terms: after all, I have read far too many dystopian novels. I've read far too many books set in wartime, true stories or stories based on true events. I've far too often understood that the world is not fair and that war is far more complex than we ever make it out to be. I long for peace, but peace and freedom to live in a world without strife, without unequalities, unequities, disenfranchisement, racism, misogyny, discrimination etc. is not something that is likely to happen — at least not in ways that I would be okay with. There will always be problems, and I can only hope that they will not be worst case scenarios. I hope we have learned from our pasts and that the work that our militaries do, our soldiers do, and have done is not done in vain, or in error, and does not harm more than it helps. I like to hope that the sadness of the lives lost past, present, and future due to conflicts of ideas, wars whether overt or covert, whether right or wrong are remembered.

But we know that history is the story told by the victors. And this Remembrance Day I think about the past conflicts that have impacted my family tree. The people who were impacted whether as civilians or as soldiers. I think about the stories that I read about in books. I think about what I've learned in history and social studies classes. I think about individual struggles. I think about collective battles. I think about our soldiers and their sacrifices. I think about PTSD. I worry about how we might be repeating the past. I worry about how we always repeat our past. I think about the concept of remembrance.

And I think of the video games and board games I play and have played and their perspectives on war, on fighting, and on battle. I think about how our current culture reflects our past wars, our past works, and our social issues. I am proud of the work that our military has done on one hand, am sad about it on the other. I think of the people I know who have birthdays on November 11th and those who have died on this date itself as well. I think Remembrance Day is more abstract for some and more real for others. Like every Remembrance Day, I recite to myself In Flanders Fields… and I think of the great rendition of this John McCrae poem that Leonard Cohen performed last year. I remember writing poetry about Remembrance Day and think about how much more abstract my writings are than those of a soldier during wartime.

And even with all of these conflicting thoughts and reflections, on this Remembrance Day, I think about how fortunate we all are that people have chosen to fight, and to remember. Thanks to all those who fight, have fought and will continue to fight to ensure that the world will be a better place. We do not all agree, nor will we. But I like to hope that the future generations will have it better than we once did and better than I have, do, or will myself.