Remembrance Day Should Be Time To Remember ALL Victims Of War

A Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted November 11th, 2016 on Niagara At Large

This may not sit well with at least a few folks out there, but I was impressed by someone I heard on a CBC radio program recently who said that Remembrance Day should be about remembering everyone whose lives were impacted by war – not just those who fought and sacrificed on the winning side of a conflict.topic_thirty_years_war

I apologize for not scribbling down the name of the individual who made that argument but it was one that spoke to a feeling I’ve had at Remembrance Day services that too many of them only focus on those who fought and sacrificed for one side of a conflict – usually “our side” or the victorious one – and barely make a mention, if at all, of those on the other side.

After all, most wars are started by a handful of individuals at the top of the food chain and everyone else has little choice but to heed their orders- or defy them at their peril – to do the fighting and dying.

The person who would have been my father-in-law – a person I never met because he died of symptoms from illnesses he suffered going back to his years locked up in a prisoner of war camp where one survived half starved on rotting scraps – had very few choices when, as a young man growing up in Italy in the 1930s, he was ordered by the fascist leader running the country at the time to report to an army boot camp.

Gears of War 4 Drone Battle

At that point he only had a few options – either go join the army, refuse to go and either end up in a prison or in front of a firing squad, flee the country if any other country would take him, or shoot himself. There were many young people in countries like Germany and Japan at that time who were faced with the same dismal options.

Then how about going further and making some real, meaningful mention of all the civiians who end up being the “colateral damage” in wars, including the many tens of thousands of civiials who were killed and wounded during all the warring in countries like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan?images3v67wxbr

So this Remembrance Day, I want to leave you with the lyrics of an old song called Universal Soldier by Buffay Sainte-Marie that are more in keeping with that inclusive spirit.

Please give them a read and take some time today to remember all the vicitims of war and to make a pledge to do your part to see that end bloody wars as a way of dealing with human conflicts.

The Universal Soldier

He’s five feet two and he’s six feet four
He fights with missiles and with spears
He’s all of 31 and he’s only 17
He’s been a soldier for a thousand years
He’s a Catholic, a Hindu, an athiest, a Jain,
a Buddhist and a Baptist and a Jew
and he knows he shouldn’t kill
and he knows he always will
kill you for me my friend and me for you
And he’s fighting for Canada,
he’s fighting for France,
he’s fighting for the USA,
and he’s fighting for the Russians
and he’s fighting for Japan,
and he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way
And he’s fighting for Democracy
and fighting for the Reds
He says it’s for the peace of all
He’s the one who must decide
who’s to live and who’s to die
and he never sees the writing on the walls
But without him how would Hitler have

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2 responses to “Remembrance Day Should Be Time To Remember ALL Victims Of War

  1. Cath Ens-Hurwood

    remember too, the millions of animals who were forced into war efforts, and even the ones who managed to survive were never repatriated, but many left in Europe to be used as food or heavy labour…..


  2. Russia lost over 20 MILLION soldiers and civilians, the equivalent of two out of three of Canada’s current population. We seldom remember that. Civilians vaporized in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. How many starved to death in Holland?

    I lost cousins in WW2 and my father served in a RCAF Mosquito squadron. Every Remembrance Day I shed tears when I see the vintage planes fly over.

    When visiting the Commonwealth cemetery in Monte Casino, Italy 2 years ago, seeing thousands of Canadian and Australian graves before me, I heard someone say “Oh, was Canada in the war?” and “The (nationality here) are probably buried where the big battles were.” and these people were my age! I was so upset and even more so, disappointed at their ignorance.

    The most heart rending video I ever saw was of gaunt civilians clutching the only possessions they had left, one holding just a picture frame, wandering aimlessly from their town that no longer existed to the next town that no longer existed. Is this any different than what we are still seeing today?

    We never learn.

    We still haven’t learned.


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