Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day

Today is the 11th day of the 11th month in the 11th year, which makes this November 11th all the more special. It's a good time to remind people that November 11th was chosen as Remembrance Day because it is originally Armistice Day, when, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month back in 1918, World War I ended. Known as the Great War, it was the first global conflict which threatened to tear apart the civilized world and caused millions of people to suffer and die.

The Great War is often glossed over in favour of the Second World War, which is highly popularized by Nazi films and countless images of Hitler. As a person who's studied history and considers myself to be something of a historian, it pains me to hear people say that World War I is boring and that the second world war was just so much more interesting to study and read up about. Hollywood and media have done a great disservice by glamourizing the Nazis and highlighting the goriest and most sensational details of the second world war. Politicians have also done a great disservice to the memory of this conflict by emphasizing current conflicts which many people do not wholeheartedly support.

With veterans of the Great War passing, it's disheartening to think that this war is going to fade into relative obscurity, or that future generations will blur together the details of one world war with the other, mostly due to Hollywood's lack of attention to detail. The Great War cannot be forgotten. It is the reason that November 11th was chosen as the day to commemorate and honour war veterans. November 11th has since become a day to commemorate all veterans of all conflicts, even those who are still actively fighting today. In all of this, the Great War gets forgotten.

When the population takes a moment of silence at 11am on November 11th, they should use that moment to think about what war means to them. But they should also take that moment to think about how it must have felt, on that fateful day in 1918, after suffering through 4 years of a global conflict which was supposed to be over by Christmas 1914, to be alive to see the end of the war and a return to peace. They should put themselves into the shoes of those people, think about what must have been in their hearts at that moment, what faint flicker of hopes for a return to peace and normality was within them, and how thankful they were to see the end of violence and madness.

Remembrance Day is about remembering and people should not forget the Great War or its impact on the world. Take a moment to reflect on what it would have felt like to see your world turned upside down by conflict and the sudden appearance of armies. Take a moment to reflect on what it would have felt like to witness entire towns being torn apart or an entire generation of young men losing their lives to bullets, poison, disease, starvation, cold or madness.

War is not a period film or a video game. It's a part of human history that should always be remembered as it was, a brutal reminder of what civilizations are capable of and how we should never make the same mistake.

No comments:

Post a Comment