Do you remember for peace?

 

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Is Remembrance Day too much about war and not enough about peace? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

Remembrance Day was first marked within the British Commonwealth (which included Canada) on November 11, 1919, at 11 a.m. to commemorate the end of the First World War upon the German signing of the Armistice and to remember those in the armed forces who gave their lives.

Back then, the majority of the people killed in wars were soldiers. Today it is civilians who pay the highest price. In the first six months of 2013, there was a 23% increase in civilian casualties in Afghanistan – 1,319 civilians died and 2,533 were wounded from January to June this year (CBS News, 31 July 2013 http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57596272/).

But in many Remembrance Day ceremonies, and especially in Ottawa, the focus is on commemorating wars, rather than trying to prevent war itself.

A survey completed in 2012 by Abacus Data showed that young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are becoming increasingly disengaged from Remembrance Day ceremonies. 47% of respondents said they were not planning on attending any ceremonies on November 11 or commemorating the day.

Yet a majority of young people said that “the reminder of the need for peace” was the most important reason for Remembrance Day, after honouring veterans and those Canadians who have lost their lives serving in wars. One in four said it was the most important reason of all.

The youth want to see more of a peace message in Remembrance Day.

And they’re doing something about it.

Our volunteer youth have been distributing November 11 peace-themed pins in Ottawa. The pins feature a white poppy – which many of us have come to know as a powerful peace symbol on Remembrance Day – and the personal statement of “I Remember for Peace.”

They will also be speaking to media about why they want a peace message in Remembrance Day.

Do you agree? Is Remembrance Day too much about war and not enough about peace?

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