Every Nov. 11 in Canada, we remember our war dead and honour their supreme sacrifice.
We wear a poppy as an emblem of our remembrance. May we never, ever forget them.
We read a popular poem written by a Canadian soldier of the First World War, a doctor who himself perished on the field of battle. To me, it is a touching lament for those who died in the service of our country.
I do not judge them, nor do I pontificate about how evil and wrong war is. I wear the poppy to remember them, and to thank them for the life they gave for our freedom, such as it is.
Some people take this day as an opportunity to castigate those who wear a poppy as glorifying war, and they wish to make a statement against war by refusing to wear one.
I have collected a few quotes, from men who have served their people in both wartime and peacetime. Their wise words have great weight, and they cause me to reflect deeply about human values,weaknesses and realities:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke, 1729-1797, Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher.
“The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the shepherd and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.” Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865, U.S. president.
“Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace, and those who could make a good peace would have never won the war.” Winston Churchill, British author, prime minister.
“I hope that no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and all people may be one people.” Chief Joseph, 1840-1904, Nez Perce.
“What a cruel thing is war: To separate and destroy families and friends and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbours, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.” General Robert E. Lee, 1807-1870, Confederate States of America.
“War would end if the dead could return.” Stanley Baldwin, 1867-1947, British politician, Earl Baldwin of Bewdley.
Teachings come from many sources: One of these says, “Greater love has no one than this; than to lay
down one’s life for his friends.” John l5:13.
Let us be reminded. Let us remember.
Phil (Bearchild) Umpherville