November 11th is a day that is very near and dear to my heart. 11 November 1918 marks the end of the Great War (also known as World War I… also known as the war to end all wars). It is a day in which I believe we should all take the time to remember those who suffered during war. I’d be happy to give up one of our other national holidays in order to make Remembrance Day a national holiday.
This day is significant to me because my country played a significant role in both world wars; both in victory and valour and in defeat and sorrow. It is also significant because it shaped the life of my great friend and late Grandfather who lived through the war, from occupation by the Germans to the liberation by the Canadians in the Netherlands, where half of my ancestral roots inhabited.
I’ve spent a considerable amount of time over the last couple months researching D-Day (also known as Operation Overlord) for an essay I’m writing for a University course I’m enrolled in and my research has only solidified my appreciation for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to put an end to an unnecessary and ruthless war.
The young men who were on the front lines of war both in the Great War and in Hitler’s war were just like you and me. They knew that there was a strong possibility that they would never again see their girlfriends or wives, or in some cases, their kids. But they went because they knew it was something they had to do.
The allies weren’t the only ones we should remember. There were millions of soldiers who were victims to something more powerful than themselves who had but not choice but to fight for their superiors.
Nothing good comes out of war and nobody really wins in war. The victors in the world wars went through just as much if not more suffering than the losers, so in the end, everybody loses.
The great wars of our past should be a lesson for the wars of the future. Instead of instigating battles we should be instigating peace. Instead of making threats we should be making concessions. Instead of encouraging other nations to develop more arms, we should be inspiring other nations to develop their people.
As long as Remembrance Day is here, we will always remember the pains of war. It’s the blood, sweat and tears of our past wars that will prevent us from shedding more blood in the future.