Remembrance Day is changing as the veterans of the First and Second World Wars, and the Korean War, pass away. More attention is being paid to current and more controversial conflicts, such as those in Afghanistan and Libya.
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 2012, nearly 400 soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan, while 1,145 Afghan civilians died due to the conflict.
But in many of the speeches made by Conservative government officials at this time of year, the focus is on commemorating wars, rather than trying to prevent war itself.
For instance, Prime Minister Harper freely connects the battles of the past, such as Vimy Ridge, with the war in Afghanistan, and even spent over $850,000 of taxpayers’ money for a private celebration of our military involvement in Libya last fall.
This leaves many wondering why we gather together each November 11. Is it to mourn the soldiers killed, or to adulate them? Do we lament war, or commemorate it?
Will you use this November 11 as a day to remember peace?
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