November 11th is a day to remember those that have served in their countries’ armed forces in an effort to bring peace to the world.
When I pause in silence with millions around the world who call November 11th Veterans Day, Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, I will be thinking of three of my relatives who fought in wars of the twentieth century: in WWI, WWII, and Korea. They fought in trenches, tanks, and at sea, from Vimy Ridge all the way to the beaches of Normandy. In WWI, my Father’s Father, Sergeant Mervin Harold Mick, a Canadian machine gunner, was wounded in the muddy trenches and fields of France, and forever walked with a limp, due to the shrapnel in his hip.
To honor the sacrifices of our armed forces, I will wear a red poppy, like the ones growing between the crosses in Flanders Fields in 1915, that signified the bloodshed of WWI’s trench warfare preserved in Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s famous poem In Flanders Fields. To support the troops, I feel the obligation to contribute what I can when I buy a poppy, which is inspired by the poem, knowing that John McCrae may have known my grandfather or past by him in the trenches. I will definitely not break faith with any of those that died.
Much of the criticism of the anti-war movement comes from people who have never served and will never have to serve in the military. What gives a chicken-hawk the right to call me a coward or a traitor because I want to aggressively continue to fight for peace — with peace — in the spirit of those that we remember on this day who also wanted peace? These same hawks advocate starting more unnecessary wars on false pretenses like Vietnam or Iraq.
Taxpayer’s dollars are spent on useless weapons to be used against imagined and exaggerated foes. The money should be going to our veterans, soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen.
The growing anti-war movement would never use this day of remembrance for political purposes the way so many war-hawks will. Veterans Day should not be used for saber-rattling or warmongering — the opposite purposes of this day. Citizens and veterans are calling on Presidents, Prime Ministers, Senators, Parliamentarians, and unelected ideologues to support, not only our troops — but also freedom and peace, on this day of remembrance.
I remember from talking with my grandfathers that November 11th was originally chosen to remember the armistice of 1918, which marked the end of WWI, also called “The Great War”. Mervin Harold Mick, if he was still alive, would surely call WWI, and all wars, by another name. Lest we forget, we stand united with our armed forces on November 11th to honor our soldiers by commemorating the end of a war — not the beginning.