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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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
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 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
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